Morrisons has reported a jump in profits for its most recent financial year, helped by a strong performance across its stores but also a push into wholesale and a focus on online shopping.
The retailer, which is the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket, on Wednesday said that pre-tax profits had risen by 16.9 per cent in the year to 4 February to £380m. That was ahead of the average analyst forecast in a Reuters poll. Revenue rose by 5.8 per cent to £17.3bn and the company also said that it had decided to pay shareholders a special dividend of 4 pence.
“We had a strong year, becoming more competitive and increasingly differentiating Morrisons for all stakeholders,” said chief executive David Potts.
“We are pleased to be paying shareholders a special dividend of 4p a share, which reflects our good performance so far and confidence for the future,” he added.
Looking ahead, Morrisons said that it was confident that the group would continue to grow. It said that it was on track for annualised wholesale supply sales to its partners to exceed £700m by the end of this year and to be more than £1bn “in due course”.
During the past year, Morrisons started a programme to supply McColl’s with branded products and Morrisons’ own Safeway brand across the country. It also ramped up its online service and expanded its collaboration with Amazon.
According to market analytics firm Kantar Worldpanel, Morrisons had a 10.6 per cent share of the UK grocery market as of the end of last month, trailing only Asda, at 15.6 per cent, Sainsbury’s at 16.2 per cent and Tesco, at 27.9 per cent.