MORRISONS today became the latest supermarket retailer to report slowing sales growth in tougher trading conditions.
The company, which has suffered from recent wet weather and trading comparisons with last summer’s World Cup, said like-for-like sales excluding fuel grew by 3% in the 23 weeks to July 15 - down from the 4% reported in May.
Chairman Sir Ken Morrison said he was satisfied with the company’s overall performance but added: “Sales volumes are lower than we would like.”
The firm’s larger rivals, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have both reported tougher trading in recent weeks as rising interest rates also put the sector under pressure amid increased competition for customers.
Morrisons - the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain - is currently fighting a price war against Tesco and Wal-Mart owned Asda in a bid to win customers.
Last month it cut 2,000 prices after similar moves from rivals.
Despite the tougher conditions, Morrisons said it remained “well on track” to meet its own expectations for the year.
Sir Ken - who is to step down as chairman next year after more than 50 years with the business - added that the group’s former Safeway stores, converted after Morrison’s £3bn acquisition of the rival three years ago, continued to perform well.
Morrisons is currently carrying out a £450m overhaul, including the rebranding of the supermarket’s famous yellow and black “M” logo.
The chain has 368 supermarkets, around nine million customers every week and employs 117,000 staff.