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Morrisons reports falling sales, but says online is making a positive difference

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Morrisons today reported falling sales but said its burgeoning online business had made a difference.

The supermarket said total sales fell by 1.1% – or 5.1% when fuel, whose price has been falling nationally, was included in the first quarter of its financial year. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, had fallen by 2.9% in the 13 weeks to May 3, or 6.6% when fuel was included. Online, however, made a positive difference by contributing 1% growth to the like-for-like sales figure.

Under new chief executive David Potts, a former Tesco executive, the company says its priorities are to improve the customer’s shopping trip.

Potts said: “My initial impressions from my first seven weeks are of a business eager to listen to customers and improve.”

He added: “This is a business with many attributes, some unique. Our task is to use those advantages to improve the shopping trip for customers and create value.”

Morrisons predicted that underlying pre-tax profits would be higher in the second half than the first.

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