‘A new Morrisons is taking shape’ amid bidding war

Morrisons remains bullish about its momentum despite reporting a 37% drop in profits.

The supermarket chain is the subject of a £7bn bidding war between current frontrunner CD&R and former favourite Fortress with a deal expected to be finalised in the next few weeks.

Chief executive David Potts said “a new Morrisons is taking shape” as it reported strong progress on its longer-term aims.

It has accelerated the roll-out of Morrisons Daily and now expects to have converted 350 McColl’s stores by November 2022, well ahead of its original target of 300 by the end of 2023.

Online sales were up 48% on last year, and have more than trebled in the last two years. Its partnership with Amazon has expanded to more than 60 towns and cities and now covers 60% of the British population, while it now has 328 stores offering Deliveroo grocery home delivery.

In what is likely to be its last financial update to the stock market, Morrisons reported pre-tax profits before exceptionals of £105m in the six months to August 1. Total revenues edged up 4% to £9bn, although its like-for-like performance without including fuel was down marginally on the previous year.

The Bradford-based retailer said: “New Morrisons is broader, stronger, and more popular and accessible to all. Our shops are thriving in the local communities they serve, and our new online and wholesale channels are growing very quickly and are profitable.

“Many new innovations such as ‘Morrisons on Amazon’, Morrisons.com store pick and click & collect, home delivery boxes, doorstep delivery, the McColl’s conversions to Morrisons Daily, and wholesale bulk supply were either born or grew quickly during the crisis.

“We now plan to seize some of these step-change opportunities and continue to grow across this new broad spectrum of potential.”