Morrisons shares buoyed by £800m property sell-off

Morrisons topped the FTSE 100 this morning after a weekend report from the Sunday Times that the UK supermarket is planning a £800m property sell-off to raise money and placate vexed investors.

The move follows the store's lamentable Christmas sales, revealed last week.

It delivered a 5.6 per cent drop in sales, along with a profit warning, having brought its trading statement forward in order to ease the blow.

But investors seem pleased with the weekend news, with shares up over 3.5 per cent this morning.

The cash will probably be returned to shareholders through dividends or share buybacks, according to the paper's report. The supermarket will also save cash by halving its annual capital spending.

Morrisons has resisted calls from investors for a radical overhaul of its property portfolio, announcing the freehold disposals instead.

The country's fourth-largest supermarket is due to update investors in March on a review into its £9bn portfolio.

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