Morrisons has continued its strong performance, almost doubling pre-tax profit in the year to February to £612m. The result comes following the supermarket chain’s major rebranding campaign in the second half of last year.
Company chairman Sir Ken Morrison (pictured), delivering his final financial statement, says 2007 was a strong year with good progress made in its long-term plans and continued profit recovery compared to 2006.
Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 4.6%, down from the 5.2% increase it posted the previous year. However, profit before tax was £612m, up from £369m in the previous period.
The strongest sales growth was in Scotland and the south of England, although Morrison says its Northern “heartland” also delivered well. However, he says the supermarket chain’s health and beauty department, which was revamped in 146 of its stores in the previous financial year, did not reach the target growth the company had set. It is currently trialling a new, revised format.
“We continued to see strong trends towards customers choosing higher quality, more healthy food – with sales of our Eat Smart range up 35%, The Best up 25% and Organics up 14%,” he says.
Last year, Delaney Lund Knox Warren created a new ad campaign for Morrisons as part of a £450m brand makeover. The company reported strong like for like sales growth during the Christmas period, excluding fuel, of 9% in the six weeks to January 6. This has been attributed largely to its ad campaign and promotional deals (MW.co.uk, January 20).
Data published by TNS Worldpanel revealed the supermarket chain had continued to gain ground on its competitors, increasing its market share by 11% in the 12 weeks to the end of February (MW.co.uk, March 4).