MORRISONS marked its forecast-beating first half results with a renewed effort to finally enter the online delivery market – more than a decade after its rivals launched their services.
The supermarket saw an 8.9 per cent rise in first-half profits to £449m, as a focus on fresh foods, low prices and promotions helped it chip away at the market share of its bigger rivals.
It also grew its sales by 2.2 per cent, despite a dip in the second quarter that was blamed on the tough comparative of the royal wedding in April. Total sales beat forecasts to hit £8.7bn.
There was a 3.5 per cent increase in footfall, with a record average of 11.5m customers visiting Morrisons’ stores every week.
Chief executive Dalton Philips said the way customers shop has shifted as rising prices, muted wage growth and government cutbacks eat into their purchasing power.
The supermarket will pay an interim dividend of 3.17p a share, up 10 per cent.
Morrisons, the UK’s fourth-biggest grocer behind J Sainsbury, Asda and market leader Tesco, produces more of its own fresh foods than any of its rivals, and employs more specialist butchers, bakers and fishmongers.