Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Supermarket Chain to Reveal Full-Year Results

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Supermarket Chain to Reveal Full-Year Results

Article excerpt

Byline: FORECAST Iain Laing? 0191 201 6429 ?

SUPERMARKET chain Morrisons will deliver its full-year results in a big week for the retail sector, with figures from French Connection and Argos owner Home Retail Group also in the spotlight.

Morrisons reports its annual results on Thursday after a difficult past few months for the supermarket sector, which has been embroiled in Europe's horse meat scandal.

While the Bradford-based chain's fresh meat sales have risen in the wake of the crisis, it has suffered on other fronts after losing market share to larger rivals.

It reported disappointing Christmas trading when like-for-like sales declined 2.5% in six weeks to December 30, and analysts at Investec are pencilling in underlying pre-tax earnings of PS888m, down from PS939m the previous year.

Investors will be hoping for signs that the Geordie duo Ant and Dec have helped Morrisons reverse sales declines after the chain enlisted the help of the presenters for a television advertising campaign hailing its in-house butchers and bakers.

But the latest figures from market researcher Kantar Worldpanel suggest there has been little impact yet after Morrisons was the only retailer to post a sales decline, down 1.3% in the 12 weeks ending February 17.

The supermarket chain is fighting back against the might of larger rivals, which have outpaced the group with their online grocery offerings and large convenience store estate.

It recently swooped on 49 shops from failed DVD and games rental chain Blockbuster and seven from collapsed camera retailer Jessops, taking advantage of quick access to high street locations to expand its convenience store business. And the City is expecting news on further progress towards a full online grocery service alongside annual results.

Catalogue chain Argos is set to deliver more sales cheer on Thursday as it continues to benefit from turnaround efforts and the demise of electrical chain Comet. …

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