Morrisons continues return to growth on back of online

Online contributed to a continuing recovery in Morrisons’ sales figures in the first quarter of the financial year, according to a statement from the retailer.

Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, were up by 0.7 per cent – and by 1.2 per cent including fuel – in the 13 weeks to May 1. Like-for-like figures strip out the effect of store openings and closures, but total sales, which reflect the impact of store closures and the exit from the M local chain, were down by 1.8 per cent, or 0.9 per cent including fuel. E-commerce added 1 per cent to -like-for-like sales.

Morrisons said that the improvement had come as it continued to “simplify and speed up the business.” It added: “Improvements we are making to the shopping trip are proving popular with Morrisons customers.”

The rise in overall sales came as transaction volumes increased by 3.1 per cent in the quarter, on a like-for-like basis, while prices fell by 2.6 per cent. Food to Go sales grew by 17 per cent over the year, helping to drive transaction numbers.

The upturn in sales comes soon after Morrisons signalled plans to expand its online service so that it can deliver nationwide. It is selling groceries wholesale through Amazon, while its partnership with Ocado will see it ramp up online sales through pick from store services, enabling it to go truly national, including in areas that Ocado’s customer fulfilment centres don’t serve.

Chief executive David Potts said,“We are encouraged by progress across our six priorities. There is still much to do and our colleagues are working very hard to improve the shopping trip and save customers every penny we can. Customers are responding and satisfaction levels remain ahead of last year.

“We are of course pleased with a second consecutive quarter of positive like-for-like sales, which demonstrates our aim to stabilise trade is taking effect.”

From here, the supermarket said, it will continue to invest in improving the customer shopping trip and boosting customer satisfaction in a climate that was likely to continue to be one of continued deflation.