Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland has vowed that the Yorkshire-based grocer will continue to increase sales ahead of the market, despite facing tougher comparatives in its second half.
Bolland said: “We do not expect sales to grow as strongly because of the comparatives and lower food price inflation, but we will continue to grow ahead of the market.”
He added: “Lower food price inflation is obviously good for the customer too.”
Morrisons, which last week revealed a 45% leap in half-year profits to £449m and total sales up 5% to £7.5bn in the six months to August 2, also reported its smaller stores are performing well. The 33 shops – which can be as small as 10,000 sq ft – have achieved a 50% sales uplift on the previous fascias of Co-op or Somerfield.
Bolland said: “Early signs are very good and the average basket size shows that most shoppers are using the stores for a full rather than top-up shop. The sales densities are also higher than our estate average.”
Morrisons’ like-for-like sales rose 7.8% excluding fuel, and Bolland said that the grocer has drawn in 1 million new customers a week.
He said the drive to take Morrisons from “national to nationwide” is “progressing well”. The grocer maintained that there are still many opportunities for new shoppers, because 40% of households have not been in one of its refreshed stores and 8.4 million households do not live within 15 minutes’ drive of a Morrisons.
Bolland said customers are starting to treat themselves a bit more and sales increased in its cake shop, for example. However, he added: “Customers are still looking for value and we believe they will still want that value even when the economy picks up.”