Morrisons (MRW) share price fell this morning after it reported strong profit and sales growth - here's how City analysts have reacted

Caitlin Morrison
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General View Of Morrisons Supermarket
Morrisons is still working on its turnaround plan (Source: Getty)

Shares in Morrisons dipped by 4.6 per cent at the open, after the supermarket reported annual profit and sales growth for the first time in four years this morning.

Turnover was up 1.2 per cent to £16.3bn, while profit before tax rose by 49.8 per cent, to £325m, signalling that chief executive David Potts' turnaround is taking effect.

Here's how the City reacted:

The man with the Midas touch

“Morrisons has regained shoppers' trust and, crucially, is luring them back from the discounters," said Retail Vision director John Ibbotson.

"Its shareholders must be thinking that David Potts has got the Midas touch.

"In reality, there was no magic involved. Potts has simply returned Morrisons to its roots of low prices, good value and fresh food. It's a back-to-basics approach that has worked impeccably."

Can-do culture

"Recognising that the year ahead will post cost challenges from Brexit and National Living Wage, Morrisons proactivity in exploring and adding revenue streams outside of existing channels and ranges is commendable," said Paul Thomas, senior consultant at Retail Remedy.

"Ocado and Amazon are very useful strings to add to the Morrison's bow. The challenge from Tesco and the discounters will not let up, but while the leadership team continue to drive the supermarket forward and embed a can-do culture in the business, it is becoming increasingly resilient to attack and deflecting the pressure onto a weaker Asda.

"With a strong set of results like this, we could expect an air of arrogance, but instead we have an air of confidence. Yes there is work to do and yes the sands can shift again, but Morrisons are firmly focussed on the customer and with that comes results."

A joy to chronicle

Shore Capital analysts said: "It is difficult to our minds to identify a misplaced foot by Mr. Potts since he took the reins of a somewhat problem Morrisons in spring 2015. The transformation of the business has been remarkable, a joy to chronicle in fact, Mr. Potts is displaying exemplary leadership skills but also, it should be said, a high level of entrepreneurship."

They added: "All in all, the investment narrative and thesis around Morrisons is radically different, dramatically better and wholly more positive. The share has performed well over the last year, which is pleasing to record and so may lead to a period of understandable consolidation.

"However, we are reminded of still high level of shorting activity, which we sense needs to still unwind in due course, whilst a self-improvement and advancement of the investment story has most definitively not reached the end of the line in our view; in fact it is still rather close to departure hall."

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