Morrisons celebrates turnaround with special dividend

Morrison's store

Morrisons to hand shareholders special dividend as turnaround continues

Revenue grew by 5.8 per cent to £17.3bn, from £16.3bn, while group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and Value-Added Tax, rose by 2.8 per cent, compared to 1.9 per cent the year before.

Supermarket giant Morrisons has revealed profit growth of 16.9% to £380m, in a third consecutive year of positive financial growth.

Pre-tax profits at the UK's fourth-largest grocer over the same period rose almost 17 per cent to £380 million, and 9.5 per cent to £374 million on an underlying comparative basis.

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With the ever-present threat of German discounters continuing to snap at the heels of the established big four, further sales growth is likely require to inspire shareholder confidence as today's special dividend - presented as a solitary offering rather than the first of many - appears to be shunned.

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.

Morrisons declared a final ordinary dividend of 4.43p, taking the full-year ordinary dividend to 6.09p, up 12.2 percent year-on-year, and further declared a special dividend per share of 4.00p.

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

He has also overhauled Morrisons' online strategy through a renegotiated agreement with distributor Ocado (OCDO.L) and struck wholesale supply deals with Amazon (AMZN.O), Rontec petrol forecourts, the McColl's (MCLSM.L) convenience chain and Channel Islands retailer Sandpiper. "We will continue to prioritise consistent, meaningful and sustainable growth, which I am confident we are well placed to keep delivering".

In February, Morrisons set out plans to cut about 1,500 store management roles, and create about 1,700 customer service jobs.

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