Markets

Morrison - Wholesale drives a good Christmas

Morrison - Wholesale drives a good Christmas

The UK's fourth largest supermarket, Morrisons, continued to ring up growing sales over the key Christmas period.

Top100 retailer Majestic Wine said that it was on track to achieve its sales of £500m by 2019 after a Christmas in which group sales grew by 3.2% in the 10 weeks to January 1, or 4.1% on an underlying basis.

Morrisons shares lifted 4% after its better-than-expected trading update, sparking gains for rivals Sainsbury's and Tesco, up 3% and 1% respectively.

Figures published on Tuesday from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel show that British shoppers spent £1bn more in supermarkets over the last 12 weeks of last year, compared to the year before.

The partnership will see the supermarket supply Safeway and branded products to 1,300 convenience shops and 350 newsagents.

But growth at Aldi [ALDEI.UL] and Lidl continued to outpace the four, with both discounters seeing sales rise by 16.8 percent.

David Potts took over at Morrisons in 2015
Image David Potts took over at Morrisons in 2015

Morrisons, which trails market leader Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda, is trying to develop a broader business by turning around the performance of its more than 500 United Kingdom stores while also pursuing growth in online and wholesale markets.

Indeed, private-label sales at the supermarkets grew at almost three times the rate of the overall grocery market (6 per cent) as "most retailers made a big play on the quality and value of premium private-label this Christmas, which is crucial as shoppers look to economise not compromise".

Asda, owned by Walmart, increased sales by 2.2 percent in the period to December 31, while 2.1 percent more came through the tills at Morrisons and Sainsbury's was up 2.0 percent, the research group said. Morrisons [IRDX RMOR] said that more customers could now use its online service as orders are picked from stores in more areas, including the north east of England.

"We again worked hard to improve the shopping trip and serve customers better, ' the retailer said in a statement".

He added it was "a good start" for United Kingdom retailers announcing trading updates this week, which include Sainsbury's, Tesco and Marks and Spencer.

The average household shrugged off economic worries to spend a record GBP1,054 on groceries over the three months including the Christmas period and a record GBP469 million on premium own-label lines in December alone, with chilled items, fresh meat and bakery featuring prominently.





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