Morrisons proving a hit in the south Morrisons' new Erith store has proved its most successful opening ever and set the tone for a successful year's trading which saw sales up 10.3% to £2,534m. Pretax profits of £174.9m were up 15.5% on the previous year. Chairman Ken Morrison said: "We are the only major supermarket chain to have always offered the same prices in all our stores wherever they were situated. "The success of our store openings further south confirms that our no nonsense approach to all round good value has been welcomed by southern customers." With its emphasis on low prices and multisaves rather than loyalty card points, the chain thinks it is well placed to weather any price war. The policy has been reinforced by the chain's new Price Mission Plus campaign. And this week's survey carried out as part of The Grocer 33 (p35) confirms Morrisons' pledge to a single pricing policy and its claim to have the cheapest basket. Morrisons says this has encouraged new customers picked up in the autumn and Christmas trading period to remain loyal into the new year. With 2.5 million weekly shoppers it has gained an extra 250,000 over the last year. Like for like sales in the first six weeks of the new financial year are up 7.3%. Four new Morrisons stores will open in 1999 and six in 2000. Business development director Chris Blundell said he would like to open more but was hampered by strict planning restrictions. {{NEWS }}