Morrisons reports third consecutive year of profit growth

14 March, 2018, 18:32 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Morrisons share price Blue-chip grocer to pay special dividend

Looking ahead, Morrisons said that it was confident that the group would continue to grow.

A Morrisons supermarket is seen in Weybridge, Britain, August 19, 2016.

"We had a strong year, becoming more competitive and increasingly differentiating Morrisons for all stakeholders". "The special dividend reflects our good progress so far and our expectations for continued growth".

In the year to February 4 2018, Morrisons recruited over 200 new local suppliers, defined as within a 35 mile radius of a store, listing 750 new products, such as Plumgarths sausages in its Cumbrian stores in north west England and Edinburgh Gin in Scotland.

With that said, pre-tax profits improved by 17% YoY as food price inflation returns to the United Kingdom after years in absentia, although management noted that FX headwinds remain for imported goods.

The supermarket chain has increased its full-year dividend 12pc to 6.1p per share and will also pay a special dividend of 4p.

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Morrisons' shares gave up early gains to be down 0.8 percent by 0925 GMT.

"This will temper somewhat the excitement of the special dividend", said Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne.

"Nevertheless", the investment director added, "Morrison's boss David Potts and his team can look back on what they have achieved with some satisfaction, especially as they have cut net debt by so much and got sales, profits and dividends all growing again".

Morrisons trails clear market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's and Walmart's Asda in annual sales.

Morrisons said sales of local suppliers' foods had risen 50% in the past two years after signing deals with more than 200 farmers and other local food producers and tailoring stores to regional tastes.

During the past year, Morrisons started a programme to supply McColl's with branded products and Morrisons' own Safeway brand across the country.

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