RNS Number : 9110U
Morrison(Wm.)Supermarkets PLC
07 January 2013

News Release   

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc provides a Christmas trading update.


The environment over the Christmas period has continued to be challenging with hard pressed consumers increasingly shopping to a budget and vouchering a prominent feature of a highly promotional market. Against this backdrop and the increasing growth of other channels, we have sought to deliver a balance of top line performance and returns. 

In the 6 weeks to 30 December total sales* excluding fuel were down by 0.9% (0.5% including fuel). Like for like sales* declined by 2.5% (2.2% including fuel).

Notwithstanding these difficult market conditions, which we expect to continue through 2013, our sales performance in the period was disappointing. This reflects both the need to improve our promotional innovation and the communication of our points of difference, as we highlighted in November, and the accelerating importance of other channels, such as online and convenience, which Morrisons has only recently entered. However we continued to maintain good availability and high standards of service throughout the seasonal peak, a reflection of the continuing strength of our supply chain and the commitment of our colleagues.

The Group's financial position remains strong and we expect full year net debt to be in the range of £2.1bn - £2.2bn. Our two year programme to retire £1 billion of equity, originally announced in March 2011, is well advanced. To date we have acquired 329m shares at a total investment of £931m.


Commenting on Morrisons Christmas trading, Chief Executive Officer, Dalton Philips said;

"Our 130,000 colleagues have done an outstanding job serving our customers great value food this Christmas and I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work. In a difficult market our sales performance was lower than anticipated, but we have a strong business and significant opportunities to advance our strategy, as we accelerate our multi-channel offer".



2012 was difficult for the consumer and the sales environment has proved to be challenging. Through the self help available to us we have managed our business tightly and accordingly the Board believes that our full year performance will be broadly in line with its expectations.



*exc. VAT and reported in accordance with IFRIC 13




Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc


Richard Pennycook - Finance Director                         0845 611 5000

Niall Addison - Investor Relations Director                   07764 624701


Media Relations


Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc           Richard Taylor  0845 611 6912

                                                            Julian Bailey      0845 611 5362

Citigate Dewe Rogerson:                      Simon Rigby      020 7638 9571

Kevin Smith      020 7282 1054



There will be an analyst conference call at 9.00 a.m. today, details as follows:


Analyst dial-in number:  +44 (0) 20 3003 2666

Password: 2116623


Replay facility available for 7 days: +44 (0) 20 8196 1998

Replay access number: 2116623


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