Morrisons see profits hit £935m

MorrisonsThe UK's fourth biggest supermarket Morrisons has boasted success in a price war with its rivals as it reported a better-than-expected rise in annual profits.

Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said its budget M Savers range had received a strong response and the supermarket offered "promotions that customers understood".
Tesco sparked a battle with its competitors last September when it unveiled the Big Price Drop campaign, prompting Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons to follow suit.

Morrisons, which has 455 stores in the UK, recorded an 8% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £935 million in the year to January 29, as like-for-like sales excluding fuel and VAT rose by 1.8%.
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The City had been expecting profits of around £922 million.

The group pledged to roll out smaller convenience formats throughout 2012 after the successful trial of three stores last year, but there was still no movement on plans to sell online, which are not expected to be revealed until the end of the current financial year, which is in January.

Morrisons has been appealing to shoppers by giving away money-off vouchers for petrol while its Price Crunch discounting initiatives and new range of ready meals are advertised by former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff.

Despite the surge in profits, Morrisons has seen slowing growth in recent months with strong like-for-like sales growth in the first three quarters of its financial year fading to 0.7% in the six weeks to January 1. Figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed the Bradford-based company's market share fell slightly to 12.2% in the 12 weeks to February 19.

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Morrisons see profits hit £935m

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.

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Looking ahead, Mr Philips, who took over when Marc Bolland joined Marks & Spencer, said: "We know that 2012 will be tough, and we will be working hard to deliver even better value for our customers."

The group plans to spend around £1.7 million per store on revamping the supermarket's fresh food offering, after a successful trial in 12 stores in the UK.

Nick Bubb, independent retail analyst, said the final results are "a bit better than expected". He added: "The basic message is that, thanks to productivity work, profits this year will not be unduly held back by the roll-out plan for the new convenience store chain and the big expansion of Kiddicare."

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