Morrisons to trump its retail rivals

WM MORRISON supermarkets is expected to announce outstanding trading results this week as it emerges from the Christmas period outperforming its rivals.

Like-for-like sales of the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket chain are predicted to have improved seven per cent on the previous year, adding to the impressive turnaround overseen by soon-to-depart chief executive Marc Bolland.

Bolland is due to take the helm at Marks & Spencer, leading some analysts, including Evolution’s Dave McCarthy, to conclude that despite remarkable sales figures “shares will be held back by uncertainty” until the issue of naming a new chief executive is resolved.

Morrisons, whose festive advertising campaigns featured celebrities Denise Van Outen and Richard Hammond, trumped Tesco and J Sainsbury, who achieved figures of 4.9 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively. Asda is yet to report its figures.

A strong focus on innovative promotions and use of popular “market style” fresh food counters have helped Morrisons increase its market share to substantially over the past 12 weeks.

The signs of recovery on the high street in general have been encouraging, with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) announcing the best December growth for eight years. Like-for like sales rose 4.2 per cent, signalling a potential rebound in consumer confidence. BRC director Stephen Robertson declared the results “stronger figures then we dared hope for”.

Morrisons began life as a market stall in 1899, but now has more than 400 stores and 120,000 staff, with nine million customers every week.