September 14, 2017 / 6:13 AM / 10 months ago

Morrisons turnaround gathers pace with profit rise

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Morrisons, Britain’s No. 4 supermarket, reported a 12.7 percent rise in first-half profit and a seventh straight quarter of underlying sales growth, cementing a turnaround under chief executive David Potts.

The Bradford, northern England, based group, which trails market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Wal-Mart’s Asda in annual sales, said on Thursday it made an underlying pretax profit of 177 million pounds ($234 million) in the half to July 30.

That compared to analysts’ average forecast of 176 million pounds and 157 million pounds made in the same period last year.

Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, were up 2.6 percent over the second quarter, having increased 3.4 percent in the first quarter.

Morrisons also increased its target for incremental profit from wholesale, services, interest and online in the medium term to 75-125 million pounds, from 50-100 million pounds previously. ($1 = 0.7576 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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