Morrisons sees pre-Christmas drop in sales

Morrisons has announced poor trading results for the Christmas period, seeing like-for-like sales fall by 2.5%.

Sales for the six weeks to December 2012 proved challenging, and Morrisons saw a total decline of 0.9%. In statement released as part of its Christmas trading update, a company spokesperson said: “Notwithstanding these difficult market conditions, which we expect to continue through 2013, our sales performance in the period was disappointing.”

To improve business, the company said it would need to further its promotional activity and develop its online and convenience offer.

Chief executive of Morrisons Dalton Phillips explained that employees across the company had done an “outstanding” job in serving customers over the Christmas period. He said: “In a difficult market our sales performance was lower than anticipated, but we have a strong business and significant opportunities to advance our strategy, as we accelerate our multi-channel offer.”

However, earlier this month, Morrisons reported aisles packed with shoppers dashing up and down stocking up on “Yuletide must-haves”.

Morrisons said in the two months leading up to Christmas, shoppers bought 70,000 fresh whole turkeys, 2,000 tonnes (t) of sprouts, 2.5m packs of stuffing and 1.1m jars of cranberry sauce.

A company spokesperson said: “Despite these being testing times, we were delighted to see shoppers as eager as ever to celebrate this special day with family and friends and worked around the clock to ensure our shelves were fully stocked with festive Christmas must-haves right up until Christmas Eve.”

The chain also sold 17,000 dressed lobsters and 9.1t of Christmas Tree Smoked Salmon, along with 2.6m packs of pâté and 389,064 individual Pearl Battered Prawns.