Final four stores offloaded
Morrisons has sealed deals for the remaining four Safeway stores that it was required to sell in accordance with the Office of Fair Trading's rulings.

The stores are at Coulby Newham in Teesside, Leeds, Bolton and Saltney near Chester and have been acquired by Tesco, Somerfield, Netto and United Co-ops respectively.

Seymour Pierce analyst Rhys Williams welcomed the disposal, but said more important news was imminent in a trading statement from Morrisons expected on Wednesday.

The past 12 months has been a challenge for Morrisons, with five profit warnings and the announcement at one point that its accounting systems were too inadequate to predict end-of-year profits accurately.

Last month, the retailer said it expected profit before tax, exceptionals and goodwill for the current financial year to be between£50 million and£150 million. The figure is well below the retailer's profit before tax for the previous year of£317 million and below previous market expectations of about£220 million.

A week ago, Retail Week reported that Morrisons had missed a self-imposed deadline to report on the progress of its search for a fourth non-executive director.