Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons enjoyed a 16.9 per cent rise in bottom line profits last year, bringing the total to £380million.
On an underlying basis, pre-tax profits increased by 9.5 per cent to £374million, while like-for-like sales grew by 2.8 per cent.
In the final quarter of last year, the supermarket’s sales rose by 2.6 per cent, including a 2 per cent increase in online and store-based sales.
On the rise: Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons enjoyed a 16.9 per cent rise in bottom line profits last year
The group’s full year total dividend is up 85.8 per cent to 10.09p, thanks largely to the announcement of a 4p per share special dividend.
Despite this, Morrison’s share price is down 1.5 per cent or 3.40p to 222.9p on Wednesday morning.
While lauding a ‘strong’ year, the group admitted it faced ‘challenges’, namely ‘the impact of higher imported cost of goods inflation and other cost headwinds.’
David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: ‘We had a strong year, becoming more competitive and increasingly differentiating Morrisons for all stakeholders.
‘We are pleased to be paying shareholders a special dividend of 4p a share, which reflects our good performance so far and confidence for the future.
‘All parts of our progress so far have one common link: our colleagues. Listening to customers, responding, and improving the shopping trip are as important now as when we started this turnaround three years ago.’
David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said the group had enjoyed a ‘strong’ year
Over Christmas, Morrisons was a stand-out performer among the Big Four supermarkets, thanks to surging sales of its premium range.
But, earlier this year the supermarket announced it was axing up to 1,500 middle-management jobs, as it seeks to cut costs in a bid to keep up with the likes of Aldi and Lidl. In today’s results, the group said ‘there is still a substantial cost-saving opportunity’.
In the last year, Morrisons started supplying convenience store group McColl’s with its own-brand products and its ‘revived’ Safeway lines.
Looking ahead, the group said it is on track to boost its wholesale supply sales to £700million by the end of the year, rising to £1billion ‘in due course.’