LONDON May 8 Britain's No. 4 grocer Morrisons
posted a worsening fall in quarterly underlying sales,
hurt by its move to cut prices to combat a loss of market share
to discounters and by its relative lack of exposure to fast
growing online and convenience markets.
The over 500-store group, which trails market leader Tesco
, Wal-Mart's Asda and J Sainsbury by
annual revenue, said on Thursday sales at stores open over a
year, excluding fuel, fell 7.1 percent in the 13 weeks to May 4,
its fiscal first quarter.
That compared to analysts' average forecast for a decline of
5.9 percent, a fall of 5.6 percent in the key Christmas period
and a 2.8 percent decline in the full 2013-14 financial year.
In March, Morrisons said profits would more than halve this
year as it set out a plan to try and restore its low-price image
with shoppers and boost sales volumes by spending 1 billion
pounds cutting prices over the next three years. A move that
sparked fears of an industry price war.
Last week the firm unveiled a second round of price cuts. It
warned like-for-like sales were unlikely to improve any time
soon as lower prices reduce actual sales going through the till.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Brenda Goh)