Morrisons in move towards online sales

giant Morrisons has reported pre-tax profit of £412m for the first half of the year – as it confirmed that it was considering a move into retail.

The profit was eight per cent down on the same period last year, but in line with forecasts.

Underlying profit was up taking into account a one-off payment in the same period last time.

The company said it had served a record average of customers per week over the period while like-for-like sales – excluding VAT and fuel – were up 0.9 per cent.

Revenues were £8.1bn from £7.5bn, a rise of nine per cent.

Meanwhile, it reported that the interim dividend was up 14 per cent to 1.23p.

The company said it was assessing a possible move into online groceries with a trial scheme, as well as opening three pilot convenience stores.

Morrisons new chief executive Dalton Philips said of the results for the six months to August: “There are many opportunities ahead to drive our top line, increase efficiencies in the business and to capture growth.”

The company said it expected low market growth to continue in the second half of the year, with further pressure on the consumer.

Philips joined Morrisons in March from Canadian grocer Loblaw and took over the reins from Marc Bolland, who is now chief executive at Marks & Spencer.