Mar 11, 2021

Morrisons expects recovery after profits halve

Wm Morrison, the smallest of the UK's "Big four" supermarkets, said it expects profitability to recover this year after profits for the 12 months to January 2021 halved due to the costs of the Covid-19 pandemic. Same-store sales rose 8.6 per cent in the year, well above the 0.8 per cent growth in the previous year because of the shift to at-home dining for long periods when pubs and restaurants were closed. Pre-tax profit before exceptionals halved to £201m - in line with analysts' forecasts - because of £290m of costs relating to the pandemic, including covering for worker absence and paying store staff a bonus. Fuel sales were down 32 per cent across the full year to £2.49bn; although they contribute little in the way of profit they are a useful source of working capital, because drivers pay in cash long before suppliers are paid. Morrisons did declare a final dividend, taking the total paid during the year to 11.15p, up 27 per cent.

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