Hargreaves Lansdown argues that Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) will be hoping to regain momentum in the last quarter of the year as trading slipped back following a strong summer, Citywire reports. The comments came after the blue-chip grocer updated investors on its third-quarter performance yesterday, revealing that its sales growth had slowed in line with expectations, without the impact of the favourable weather and World Cup which boosted the group’s second-quarter sales.
Morrisons’ share price fell yesterday as investors digested the group’s results, giving up 3.95 percent to close at 244.50p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index ending trade 0.89 percent lower at 7,040.68 points. This morning, the shares have started the session marginally higher, having inched 0.12 percent to 244.80 points as of 08:03 GMT, as compared with a 0.56-percent gain in the Footsie.
Citywire quoted Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf as commenting that Morrisons’ recent performance looked ‘pedestrian’ with sales behind expectations and ‘barely visible’ transaction growth. He said that while the grocer’s wholesale business was holding up well, with US e-commerce giant Amazon on the horizon, this business ‘adds another string to the Morrison bow’.
Focus on Christmas period
“The Christmas trading period is now firmly in view […] the supermarket will be hoping it can regain some momentum in the crucial last quarter of the year,” Khalaf concluded.
The comments came as Morrisons said in its results yesterday that it was now “looking forward to a busy festive period, and have already achieved some success for the quality and innovation of our Christmas products”.
Morrisons’ update comes ahead of FTSE 100 rival J Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) results due out tomorrow.