Morrisons reports slowdown over Christmas

10 January, 2012

Morrisons saw a slowdown in like-for-like sales over the Christmas trading period, despite a boost in customer numbers.

The Yorkshire-based supermarket was the first of the big four to reveal its Christmas figures, with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda due to follow later this week.

Total sales (excluding fuel) were up 2.9% in the six weeks to 1 January, but like-for-like sales slowed to only 0.7%, from 2.4% reported in the third quarter. Increasing numbers of consumers left shopping until quite late.
 
A Morrison’s spokesman told the Meat Trades Journal: “We noticed during the Christmas period that many customers took advantage of our fresh offer and there was a 3% swing from frozen turkey to fresh turkey - with an overall 9% growth in the number of whole fresh turkeys sold.”

Pork growth was particularly strong as many customers switched to less expensive, better value proteins. Volumes of fresh pork sales over Christmas were up 7.3%, with pork loin joints up by 63%.

Chief executive officer Dalton Philips said: “I am pleased that in a difficult trading environment we have continued to grow our business  and have delivered another good performance in a very tough market.”
 
Chief executive officer Dalton Philips said: “I am pleased that, in a difficult trading environment, we have continued to grow our business  and have delivered another good performance in a very tough market.”
 
The company said it expected the consumer environment to remain cautious in 2012, despite an anticipated reduction in inflationary pressures.

Waitrose already announced a strong performance, with record-breaking sales in-store over the Christmas period and online growth of 49%. Grocery sales for December showed a total uplift of 9.5% and an increase of 3.8% on a like-for like-basis.

Turkey orders were up 66% on last year, with more shoppers opting for premium ranges, while WaitroseEntertaining party food also rose by 29%.

Meanwhile, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the average costs of meat for Christmas dinner rose by 6.5% compared to the same time last year.

The cost of turkey steaks rose 3.8% from an average £7.85/kg in November 2010 to £8.15/kg in November 2011, with fresh chilled chicken rising 7.2% from £2.93/kg to £3.14/kg.

Ingredients for pigs in blankets also rose, with back bacon increasing 6.2% from £8.58 to £9.11/kg, and sausages rising to £4.33/kg from £4.10 last year, an increase of 5.6%. Gammon saw the greatest rise in price, though, at 10.3%, taking the cost from 6.42/kg last year to £7.08/kg this November.







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