Morrison’s Pandemic-Related Costs Offset Stockpiling Benefit
(Bloomberg) -- Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc again deferred a decision to pay a special dividend as extra costs from the coronavirus pandemic weighed on the U.K. retailer.
- Britain’s fourth-largest grocer said the cost of recruiting an extra 25,000 workers and implementing safety measures was offsetting higher demand for groceries as consumers eat more at home during the lockdown.
- Like other grocers, Morrison is at least getting a near-term boost. Sales in the first quarter rose by a better than expected 5.7% and it recorded a “substantial increase” in its online business.
- Lockdown-related stockpiling might not help for long, though. Morrison said it had “minimal visibility” on its sales and profit for the current financial year.
- The grocer said government relief on business rates, a type of property tax, this year will broadly offset its higher running costs but it’s unclear how long the crisis will last.
- Morrison shares rose 1.5% early Tuesday in London. For the year to date they’re down 4%.
- Read the full statement here.
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