Shares in Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) have been little changed in today’s trading ahead of the blue-chip supermarket’s preliminary results tomorrow, when the company is expected to unveil a rise in sales and profits. The update will come after the latest industry data showed that the blue-chip grocer and FTSE 100 rival Tesco (LON:TSCO) were neck and neck as the fastest growing of the UK’s ‘Big Four’ supermarkets for the 12 weeks to February 25.
As of 14:15 GMT, Morrisons’ share price had added 0.04 percent to 226.50p. The stock is outperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.39 percent lower at 7,186.52 points.
Morrisons results preview
Morrisons is scheduled to post its preliminary results tomorrow and Proactive Investors reports that analysts at Jefferies expect the group’s sales to have climbed by four percent to £16.3 billion last year, while the grocer’s pre-tax profit is expected to have increased by eight percent to £366 million.
City A.M. meanwhile quoted AJ Bell’s Russ Mould as saying that analysts were hoping to see the grocer’s pre-tax profit reach £375 million.
“Shares in the Bradford-headquartered FTSE 100 constituent have really gone nowhere fast over the last 18 months as investors have fretted about weak consumer confidence,” Mould pointed out, as quoted by the newswire, adding that stiff competition was another reason for investor jitters.
Latest Kantar Worldpanel data
The results will come after Kantar Worldpanel reported last week that Morrisons had seen its 16th consecutive period of growth in the 12 weeks to February 25, with sales having grown by 2.7 percent, same as Tesco. Morrisons’ market share meanwhile held steady at 10.6 percent.
“Its premium own-label line The Best proved particularly successful, with sales rising by 20 percent year on year as cooked meats, vegetables and cakes and pastries tickled shoppers’ fancy,” Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, commented in a statement.