morrisons
Morrisons shares soar after best Christmas in seven years

Bradford-based supermarket Morrisons (LON:MRW) reported a fourth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth on Thursday, thanks to the ‘best ever’ Halloween, price cuts and a new premium range.

The increase in sales for the 13 weeks to October 30. topped analysts’ forecasts of 1.0 – 1.5 percent though slowed from second-quarter growth of 2.0 percent.

Morrisons had plans to make more effort to focus on key seasons and events during the year, such as Halloween and Christmas. This effort is paying off, with Morrisons saying its Halloween sales were up 20 percent compared with last year.

David Potts, who recently left Tesco (LON:TSCO) to join Morrisons as chief executive is determined to revive the supermarket after it was badly affected by the rapid rise of discounters Aldi and Lidl.

“Our like-for-like sales have now been positive for a year, which is thanks to the hard work and dedication of the whole Morrisons team. There is a lot more we plan to do. We will keep investing in becoming more competitive and improving the shopping trip, and I am confident we will serve our customers even better during the important trading period ahead.” said chief executive, Potts.

Potts has also renovated Morrisons’ online strategy through a renegotiated agreement with distributor Ocado (LON:OCDO) and a wholesale supply deal with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

“We will keep investing in becoming more competitive and improving the shopping trip, and I am confident we will serve our customers even better during the important trading period ahead,” he said.

Morrisons recently found itself in the headlines for being first among the supermarkets to raise the cost of Marmite since the dispute between Tesco and Unilever (LON:ULVR) over the effect of the falling pound on production costs.

“With the Unilever-Tesco spat fresh in the memory, Morrisons has got to be careful with how it handles the weaker pound as margins compress further, although overall it’s better placed than most as it sources more from the UK.” said Neil Wilson, markets analyst, at ETX.