Morrisons Reports Strong Sales Growth, Axes Final Salary Pensions

Supermarket chain Morrisons has made an encouraging start to the financial year after reporting better-than-expected sales figures.
The Bradford-based grocer attracted half a million more new customers each week to its stores in the first quarter as like-for-like sales, which excludes fuel but includes VAT, rose 7.3 per cent.
Sales, excluding fuel and VAT, rose 8.2 per cent in the 13 weeks to 3 May, beating beat analysts’ forecasts of around 7.5 per cent growth.
A statement from the group said: “The board is encouraged by the progress of the business at this early stage of the year.”
“Performance in the first quarter has been in line with our expectations, and our financial outlook for the year remains unchanged.”
Morrisons’ chief executive Marc Bolland said the company was attracting new customers from premium food retailers and from other rivals in the south of England, particularly in London .
He added that recession-hit shoppers were treated to 8,000 price cuts and over 5,000 promotions as part of Morrisons Price Crunch campaign.
“This is a particularly good result, which is on top of the similar level of growth we reported in last year’s first quarter update,” commented Bolland.
“With shoppers increasingly attracted by our outstanding fresh food and our great value, we are taking the next step from national to nationwide.”
Morrisons, the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket, also announced that was closing its final salary pension scheme to current staff members.
The group said from July, 10,000 employees in two schemes will have their pensions based on their “career average” earnings, rather than their final salaries, while new recruits will continue to be offered a “defined contribution” pension scheme .