Morrisons says its online sales grew by 113% in the first quarter of its financial year, outperforming by far the more steady improvement seen in sales across the group.
The retailer says the supermarket has enjoyed a renaissance during the pandemic, as shoppers have cooked at home more often. Online shoppers have bought both from its own website and via its Amazon presence.
Wholesale was also 21% ahead of last time, on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store and business openings and closures. During the quarter the retailer saw another 25 branches of McColls convert to Morrisons Daily, taking the total to 56, and agreed more supply arrangements with both wholesalers and petrol station businesses.
Now, says Morrisons, supermarket sales are reflecting more steady sales patterns as shoppers start to return to pre-pandemic shopping patterns, with uptake of its £3 meal deals now improving.
“The pandemic is not yet over but it is in retreat across Britain and there is much to be positive about as something approaching normal life begins to take shape,” says Morrisons chief executive David Potts. “Our forecourts are getting busier, we are seeing encouraging recent signs of a strong rebound of food-to-go, take-away counters and salad bars and our popular cafés will soon fully reopen. The nation has a summer of socialising and sport to look forward to and we’ll all be able to rediscover the joys of meeting up and eating well together. Whichever way consumers choose to enjoy their renewed freedom, we will be there for them.
“We’re looking to the future with confidence as we see the growing warmth and affection for Morrisons from our customers flow into every area of the business. Our increasingly special butchers, bakers, fishmongers and other food makers are helping to brighten shopping trips, and the growing reach of our online businesses is attracting new customers and broadening the appeal of new Morrisons."
In a first quarter trading update, Morrisons says group sales in the 14 weeks to May 9 rose by 2.7% on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store and business reopenings and excludes fuel sales. LFL sales were 8.7% ahead compared to two years ago – before the pandemic. This, says Morrisons chief executive David Potts, shows “good momentum.. both on a one and two-year view”. Now he expects the business to grow profits – to at least £431m before tax and one-off costs – and reduce its debts this year – before becoming more profitable in the 2022/23 financial year.
Morrisons is a Leading retailer in RXUK Top500 research.