Grocer Morrisons has reported a rise in quarterly sales and earnings, saying that listening to customers and other stakeholders is bearing fruit.

Morrisons has posted a 4.1% advance in group like-for-likes (excusing fuel) in the second quarter to April 28, when total sales increased 3.7% to £3.8bn. The performance meant that underlying EBITDA in the first half was ahead 16% to £321m.


CEO Rami Baitiéh joined Morrisons last November

Morrisons chief executive Rami Baitiéh, who took over last November, said it had made “good progress” on its three priorities: commercial excellence, operations optimisation and new value creation. The retailer is “focusing intensively” on availability and its loyalty programme based on customer feedback.

The swipe rate on the Morrisons More loyalty card has reached 50% and a medium-term target of 70% has been set. 

Baitiéh said: “I am pleased with the overall performance of the business in the second quarter with supermarkets, convenience, wholesale and online all delivering growth.

“Over the last eight months we have listened carefully to over 340,000 customers, colleagues and suppliers and the insights from this exercise are helping to refine and shape the activity in all three pillars of our strategy. It’s clear that availability and our loyalty scheme are the two areas our customers talk about the most and so we are focusing intensively on these areas.

“Our Aldi and Lidl Price Match, introduced in February, has had a great start and is giving customers increasing confidence in the competitiveness of our prices across the shop.

“Customer reaction to the significant investments we have made in the More Card has been very positive. We now have over five million active customers, and transactions using the card have grown by around 35% in the last eight months,” he said.

Over the period, Morrisons, which is controlled by private equity giant CD&R, also completed the £2.5bn sale of its petrol business to MFG and reduced its debt sheet by 35% to £4bn from a high of £6.2bn. 

Morrisons bought 38 Channel Islands convenience stores in the quarter. It said the conversion of McColl’s c-stores to Morrisons Daily has been completed with a target of 2,000 Morrisons Daily branches in 2025.