Morrisons cuts prices in New Year salvo

FILE PHOTO: A Morrisons supermarket is seen in Margate, Britain, September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Marika Kochiashvili

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's No. 4 supermarket chain Morrisons MRW.L is cutting prices on nearly a thousand products, it said on Monday, firing the first salvo of the new year in the country's fiercely competitive grocery sector.

Along with bigger rivals Tesco TSCO.L, Sainsbury's SBRY.L and Asda WMT.L, Morrisons has reduced prices to compete with fast-growing German-owned discounters Aldi [ALDIEI.UL] and Lidl, who have been winning market share, partly through aggressive store-opening programmes.

Morrisons said it was cutting the prices of 935 products, including tinned tomatoes, cereals, ready meals and multivitamins, by an average of 20 percent.

The supermarket chain, which is based in Bradford, northern England, said the price cuts will typically be held for a minimum of twelve weeks. It did not disclose the cost of the investment.

Morrisons has reported twelve straight quarters of underlying sales growth. However, analysts have forecast a slowdown in growth over the key Christmas period.

The chain is due to update on trading on Tuesday, followed by Sainsbury’s on Wednesday and Tesco on Thursday. Aldi is due to report on Monday.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Jan Harvey