UK Supermarket Chain Morrisons Posts Best Christmas Sales in Seven Years

UK supermarket chain Morrisons lifted its profit forecast for the 2016-17 financial year after its best Christmas period trading in seven years.

Same-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 2.9% during the the nine weeks to Jan. 1, the grocer said on Tuesday on its website. Including fuel, comparable sales rose 4.7%.

The company said it achieved the better performance after raising service standards on the shop floor and at the checkout and improving its offer. Fruits and vegetables, beers, wines and spirits and clothing were the best selling categories, while its online story Morrisons.com had its biggest ever week for sales during the festive season.

“This Christmas we made further improvements to the customer shopping trip,” said David Potts, the chain’s chief executive. “We stocked more of what our customers wanted to buy, more tills were open more often, and product availability improved as over half of sales went through our new ordering system.”

The group said it now expects underlying profit before tax for the 2016-17 financial year to be between 330 mililion pounds ($401 million) and 340 million pounds, compared with 302 million pounds in the 2015-16 financial year.

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