Morrisons Shares Slump 7% After Dire Xmas
Shares in Morrisons slumped on Thursday after a shock 5.6% sales tumble over the crucial Christmas trading period.
The supermarket - which is yet to break into the online grocery market - admitted the Christmas period had been "very challenging".
Chief executive Dalton Philips added: "In a very tough market our sales performance over Christmas was disappointing."
His position is under pressure following a 5.6% decline in like-for-like sales during the six weeks to January 5.
When fuel was included, the figure fell to 7.1%.
The performance was far worse than most analysts had expected - hitting the share price by more than 7% - and was followed by a lower profits forecast to the lower end of current market expectations.
"Hard-pressed consumers elected to economise and managed their budgets very tightly, buying less and shopping selectively across a range of formats and retailers," the chain said.
Morrisons - like its major rivals - has suffered at the hands of the discounters who have forced the big chains to slash prices.
Tesco also reported falling UK sales on Thursday.
Morrisons has also been hampered by its late entry into internet deliveries and convenience stores, the two fastest growing retail channels for the big grocers.
Mr Philips said the group was working hard to catch up, with its first online food deliveries starting on Friday while it has opened 85 convenience stores to date.
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