Supermarket giant Morrisons has hailed its strongest like-for-like sales growth in three years in the first quarter of the financial year under new boss Rami Baitiéh.

Rami Baitiéh

Rami Baitiéh: ‘There is a real sense of optimism and renewal running through the whole company’

For the 13 weeks covering October 30, 2023, to January 28, 2024, Morrisons posted a 4.6% increase in group like-for-like sales not including fuel and total sales of more than £3.9bn, up 3.9%.

The supermarket said it was the strongest quarterly like-for-like sales it had posted in three years and represented its seventh consecutive quarter of sales improvement.

The positive trading update comes as the business leans into its transformation under former Carrefour France boss Baitiéh. In January, he unveiled plans to drive future growth through commercial excellence, operations optimisation and new value creation.

In February, Morrisons reintroduced its Aldi and Lidl price match, and the business completed the £2.5bn sale of its petrol filling business to MFG in January.

Baitiéh’s relentless focus on customer feedback has seen satisfaction metrics “improve strongly” with complaints more than halving during the last 20 weeks.

The retailer also said the conversion of 910 former McColl’s convenience stores to Morrisons Daily stores is almost complete and the like-for-like sales uplift on conversion remains around 20%, with double-digit uplifts in the second year.

Baitiéh said: “In January, I outlined our plan to reinvigorate, refresh and strengthen Morrisons as we started our next chapter. Those plans are now in full swing with the whole business engaged in the three key pillars of work that will be the foundation of the future for Morrisons: commercial excellence, operations optimisation and new value creation.

“Across the business, we have identified many areas where we can raise our game and make small improvements which collectively will result in a significantly enhanced shopping experience for our customers. Availability, waste, newness, innovation, speed and accuracy are all on an improving trend and our customers are beginning to notice. Our key customer metrics are improving and complaints – which in many ways are the canaries in the retail coal mine – are down almost 60% in the last 20 weeks.

“For longer-term and sustainable growth, we have developed new plans for growth in wholesale, convenience, franchise, export markets and global sourcing and we are now moving quickly to implement them. In our franchise business, for example, we have built a new team specifically to accelerate new customer acquisition and recently we have opened, on average, three franchise convenience stores a week and we intend to open many more in the coming months.

“I have been so impressed with the way all our colleagues are embracing the start of our next chapter and I want to thank every one of them for the important part that they are playing in shaping our future. There is a real sense of optimism and renewal running through the whole company as we return to a growth path.”