Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stores Report a Slowdown in Sales

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stores Report a Slowdown in Sales

Article excerpt

MORRISONS has reported a slowdown in sales in the run-up to Christmas, underlining the fierce competition in the supermarket sector over the crucial period.

The Bradford-based company, which has 450 stores in the UK, saw like-for-like sales excluding VAT and fuel increase 0.7% in the six weeks to January 1, compared with 2.4% in the previous quarter. The City had expected sales growth of 1%.

The slowdown came despite Morrisons, the fourth biggest supermarket in the UK, claiming a record number of customers, with an extra 800,000 per week shopping there during the period.

The battle for sales gathered pace in early October when Tesco introduced its Big Price Drop, prompting Sainsbury's to launch a price-matching scheme and Asda to slash petrol prices. The group said total sales excluding VAT and fuel in the period were up 2.9% and were ahead 5.6% including petrol sales.

Morrisons said a number of "innovative promotional offers" helped boost sales in the period and helped to pull in extra customers. …

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