Shares in Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) have jumped about two percent in London this morning, as the blue-chip grocer updated investors on its first-quarter performance, reporting a rise in like-for-like sales. The company further reiterated its expectations for the full year.
As of 10:15 BST, Morrisons’ share price had added 2.08 percent to 250.50p. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped marginally into the red and currently standing 0.09 percent lower at 7,655.50 points.
Grocer posts ‘strong start’ to year
Morrisons reported in a statement this morning that its like-for-like sales excluding fuel had climbed 3.6 percent in the 13 weeks to May 6, comprising equal contributions from retail and wholesale. The company’s total sales meanwhile came up 3.8 percent, excluding fuel. The grocer, which inked a wholesale supply deal with McColls last year, noted that it was on track for its targets of £700 million of annualised sales by the end of the year and £1 billion in due course.
“We are pleased to have made a strong start to the year, again becoming more competitive for customers while delivering growth on growth,” Morrisons’ chief executive David Potts said in the statement.
Grocer confident going forward
Going forward, the FTSE 100 grocer expects its net debt to continue to fall during 2018/19, noting that its expectations remained unchanged, and that it remained “confident of another strong year ahead”.
Morrisons’ results come after rivals Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) and Asda recently inked a merger deal.
“These are a strong set of results that will help to quell short-term worries over Morrisons’ position in the market versus Tesco and Sainsbury’s-Asda,” said Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne, as quoted by Reuters.