Morrisons will not target “meaningful profit growth” until next year, the Big 4 supermarket has revealed.
The grocer was cagey about its expectations for 2021, though it predicted profits would increase from last year, when they plummeted by 62 per cent.
Sales growth in supermarkets slowed to 1.6 per cent between January 1 and May 9, much reduced from the pandemic grocery boom of last year.
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However, online sales grew by 113 per cent compared to last year.
Like-for-like sales were up by 8.7 per cent, helped along by Morrisons’ wholesale supplying of McColl’s.
Although Covid-19 precautions reached £27 million in the quarter, costs fell steadily after the peak of the second wave in early January.
“We’ve had an encouraging start to the year, with positive like-for-like sales and some good momentum,” Morrisons chief executive David Potts said.
“We expected to grow profits and reduce debt in the current year and I’m pleased to be both reiterating that guidance today and looking forward to a year of meaningful profit growth in 2022/23.
“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.”
Morrisons calculates that its pre-tax profit for 2020/21 would have reached £431 million if it had not waived £230 million in business rates relief.