Morrisons reports third consecutive year of profit growth

Morrisons to hand shareholders special dividend as turnaround continues

Morrisons, Britain's No. 4 grocer beat forecasts with an 11 percent rise in full-year profit, benefiting from an improved performance from stores as well as a push into wholesale and online markets, and said it would pay a special dividend.

Although the discounters are still winning market share, Potts has delivered nine straight quarters of like-for-like sales growth and industry data published last week showed Morrisons and Tesco TSCO.L were jointly the fastest growing of the big four over the last three months.

United Kingdom retailer Morrisons has reported that revenue increased by 5.8% to £17.3 billion previous year, with group like-for-like sales up 2.8%.

"Morrisons is now entering its third consecutive year of growth, which is a credit to the whole team", chairman Andrew Higginson said.

Morrisons said sales of local suppliers' foods had risen 50% in the past two years after signing deals with more than 200 farmers and other local food producers and tailoring stores to regional tastes.

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The supermarket said it has seen "meaningful, sustainable sales and profit growth, with strong cash flow" for 2017, having returned £237m to shareholders in accordance with its capital allocation framework and reducing its debt by £221m to £973m, below the £1bn year-end target.

Under Chief Executive David Potts, Morrisons, the smallest of Britain's big four grocers, is trying to broaden its business by improving the performance of its 500 United Kingdom stores while also pursuing growth in online and wholesale markets.

During the past year, Morrisons started a programme to supply McColl's with branded products and Morrisons' own Safeway brand across the country.

"All parts of our progress so far have one common link: our colleagues".

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