Morrisons share price heads south as grocer’s sales growth slows

Third-quarter LFL sales fall short of analyst expectations

Morrisons share price heads south as grocer’s sales growth slows

Shares in Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) have fallen deep into the red in today’s session, as the blue-chip supermarket revealed that its sales growth had slowed in the third quarter of its financial year. The update comes ahead of FTSE 100 rival J Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) interim results this Thursday.

As of 08:45 GMT, Morrisons’ share price had given up 3.83 percent to 244.80p. The shares are underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.14 percent lower at 7,093.69 points.

Morrisons posts Q3 results

Morrisons announced in a statement this morning that its like-for-like sales excluding fuel were up 5.6 percent in the 13 weeks to November 4, comprising contributions from retail of 1.3 percent and wholesale of 4.3 percent. The group explained that its retail LFL sales growth had eased slightly quarter on quarter, in line with expectations, without the impact of the favourable weather and World Cup which boosted the group’s second-quarter sales.

“After another period of strong growth, and with more customers enjoying shopping at Morrisons, we have now completed three years of positive like for like,” the supermarket’s chief executive David Potts commented in the statement.

Analysts weigh in after update

The Financial Times quoted Bruno Monteyne, food analyst at Bernstein, as commenting that the supermarket sales growth for the quarter was below expectations.

“Morrisons has consistently been at the top out of the big four supermarkets, alongside Asda,” the analyst pointed out.

Reuters meanwhile reports that prior to today’s update analysts were on average forecasting an underlying pretax profit of £409 million for the full 2018-19 year, up from £374 million in 2017-18. The newswire notes that Shore Capital, Morrisons’ house broker, has said that it is not changing its forecast of £412 million.

As of 09:04 GMT, Tuesday, 06 November, Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc share price is 244.00p.

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