Wm Morrison today reported that it continues to take market share, as its Q3 results show total sales up 7.6% (4.6% excluding fuel) and LFL sales up 5.8% (2.4% excluding fuel).
Morrisons has opened 9 full size stores during the period, but is well behind its rivals in the convenience store war, having opened just its second this quarter. In terms of distribution Morrisons have now moved into their new Regional Distribution facility at Bridgwater and this will progressively pick up load though the next quarter.
Morrisons is the most vertically integrated grocer of the big four and this can help produce efficiency savings. It also enables them to produce ranges of ready meals in their kitchens. A new range has just been launched which has performed 60% ahead of plan.
Morrisons is changing the debt structure to improve the efficiency of its finance, finding a lower cost in the US having just concluded a $250 million US private placement agreement over 15 years. It sees more of this and corporate bonds rather than bank debt for the future. The plan to retire £1billion of equity over the two years to March 2013 continues, having acquired and cancelled 103m shares at a total investment of £300 million to date.