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Morrisons will introduce its first multichannel services next month

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Ecommerce will arrive in Morrisons’ stores by the end of next month, the company said today.

The supermarket will become the last of the major grocery retailers to sell online when it launches next year. But today it unveiled a multichannel initiative that will come to fruition earlier still, with internet kiosks selling goods from its nursery retailer subsidiary Kiddicare going live in 28 stores by the end of October.

Kiddicare, which Morrisons bought earlier this year, will form the foundation of the supermarket’s plans to sell non-food items online during 2012. is also on track to launch grocery sales next year.

The update came as Morrisons unveiled a 7.4% rise in turnover to £8.7bn in the first half of its financial year, with like-for-like sales up by 2.2%. Pre-tax profits in the half-year to July 31 rose 9% to £449m.

Morrisons said it had a team at work evaluating approaches to online grocery sales. The team is currently based in New York to learn from the FreshDirect business that Morrisons also invested in earlier this year. It is headed by former Apple marketing executive Simon Thompson who is managing director for food at Morrisons.

In other highlights the company said it had reached record customer numbers at 11.5m shoppers a week despite a “tough economy”.

Chief executive Dalton Philips said: “In addition to growing sales and delivering good profit growth, we also made great strides in developing the business for the future.

“We have opened our first convenience store, invested further in our unique production capabilities, increased efficiency across the Group, gained valuable insights from our trial stores and taken our first steps towards becoming a multichannel retailer. I am confident we will make further good progress in the second half.”

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