Last week William Morrison reported a record year, with almost double digit like for like sales growth and a 17.2% increase in turnover to almost £3bn. But an enduring mystery remains ­ why on earth is its share price still so low? This week the price barely raised a whimper on the announcement, dropping to 1341/2p on Thursday, well down on its year high of 1673/4p recorded last May. So obviously Morrisons is a mature company and the City was anticipating this resounding set of results? Wrong. It seems that Morrisons' stocks are suffering the same fate of the old fashioned blue chips. Many established names are making solid profits but suffering in the face of the hi-tech and internet frenzy feeding the emerging dotcom businesses. Philip Dorgan, an analyst at WestLB Panmure says the current EV of the company values each store at just £20m. "In our view this is a snip ­ Wal-Mart paid £31m per Asda store ­ and the shares have been unduly affected by concerns the new Asda will halt its progress. Panmure is predicting sales will grow by the end of 2002 to £3.69bn with pretax profit climbing from £189m to £227m. If you have shares, it says retain them. If you don't, buy them. "Worries that Asda plus Wal-Mart equals profit collapse for Morrisons are misplaced and we would be buyers, with one eye on the forthcoming round of sector consolidation," says Dorgan. {{NEWS }}

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