Morrisons, the UK’s fourth largest supermarket, has reported an 8% increase in pre-tax profits to £935m in the year ended 29 January 2012.
Turnover rose 7% to £17.7bn (2010/11: £16.5bn) and by 1.8% on a like-for-like sales (excluding fuel and VAT).
During the year, Morrisons opened 34 new supermarkets and said it had attracted record customer numbers, up by 400,000 per week.
During the year it has relaunched its own brand range with M Kitchen and M savers products and said investment in service has driven customer satisfaction. It has also recorded improvements in productivity in stores and distribution.
Dalton Philips, CEO, said: “This has been Morrisons best year yet with another good financial performance and growth ahead of the market. Customers were having a tough time but we responded with a new M savers brand for budget conscious shoppers, promotions that customers understood, and industry leading service.
“We know 2012 will be tough, and we will be working hard to deliver even better value for our customers. At the same time, we have ambitious plans for the long term development of the business, through new supermarkets, convenience stores and the development of our multi-channel capabilities.I am confident that Morrisons will make further progress this year.”
Morrisons said it will be accelerating the roll out of its new fresh food proposition, already delivered into 12 stores, in 2012.
The launch of its online business – Morrisons.com – is also on schedule for late 2012, it said.
Commenting on the results, Matt Piner, lead consultant at retail research agency, Conlumino, said: “With food inflation dropping off and its rivals making plenty of noises about price competitiveness, this is a pretty good set of results from Morrisons.
“With its acquisition of Kiddicare and its plans around non-food and online, Morrisons is juggling more and more balls, so it would be easy to take its eye of its core food offer. So far it has not done this and it has the considerable benefit that when it promises its customers good value and decent quality, they totally believe it – something which is increasingly less true of Tesco and Asda.
“The challenge for Morrisons is to maintain these core values and appeal as it continues to expand. Moves into online, non-food and convenience are all sensible and potentially lucrative. However, with each move to further stretch its influence, it risks being seen as just another ‘supermarket behemoth’ and losing a real advantage in differentiating itself from some of its rivals.”