Morrisons hit its first bump in the road when its sales growth was slightly lower than the City expected over the Christmas period. Then last month it announced its sales had fallen in the first quarter - the first in seven years.
However, any talk of a crisis at Morrisons is premature. Over the past year Morrisons has stood out like a shining beacon for its successes. Its full-year results to 29 January were spectacular, with pre-tax profits up 8% to £947m on the back of sales of £17.7bn, up a very healthy 7%.
And much more important than those Q1 numbers was the seismic shift taking place within Morrisons in terms of range, format and, indeed, thinking.
Since October the retailer has been overhauling its own label range in a project impacting 7,000 lines. Its M Savers range is currently the UK’S fastest-growing grocery range, according to CEO Dalton Philips, while M Kitchen has helped it catch up with rivals in terms of its chilled ready meals.
Morrisons also caught the eye with ground-breaking new store formats. Its much lauded ‘Store of the Future’ fresh-food focused format, now rolled out in 43 locations, is expected to provide the blueprint for a renewed expansion push in the south. It’s also opened five of its new M Local c-stores, which utilises fresh produce supplied from its larger stores, with prices to match.
Add the acquisition of Flower World, expansion of its manufacturing arm, the launch of standalone Kiddicare stores, dotcom progress, and turbo-charged investment in its people, and there’s a momentum to Morrisons that’s exciting.
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Grocer of the Year: Morrisons forges ahead despite blips