Morrison said life-for-like (LFL) sales ex-fuel/ex-VAT in the second quarter was up 2% in its third consecutive positive quarter.
- H1 LFL sales ex-fuel/ex-VAT up 1.4%
- Total turnover almost flat, down 0.4% to £8.03bn (2015/16: £8.06bn)
- UPBT up 11% to £157m (2015/16 UPBT before restructuring costs: £141m), or up 34% including last year's restructuring costs (2015/16 UPBT: £117m)
- Underlying EPS up 35% to 5.04p (2015/16: 3.73p)
- Reported PBT up 13.5% to £143m (2015/16: £126m)
- Free cash flow of £558m (2015/16: £479m)
- Operating working capital improvement of £318m, two-and-a-half-year total £872m
- Debt facilities redeemed: $250m USPP and £152m of sterling/euro bonds
- Net debt reduced by £477m to £1,269m, below our year-end target
- Interim dividend up 5.3% to 1.58p (2015/16: 1.50p)
- Continuous listening programmes and delivery of the six priorities are improving the customer shopping trip and stabilising LFL sales
- Good progress on plan to Fix, Rebuild and Grow a broader, stronger business
- New strategic partnerships announced with Amazon, Timpson and Ocado
- Disposal of stake in Fresh Direct after period end
FINANCIAL TARGETS UPDATE
- Cost savings to exceed £1bn target by end of 2016/17
- £2bn free cash flow target exceeded six months ahead of plan
- Working capital improvement target increased from £800m to £1bn
- £5m of the £50m-£100m incremental PBT target delivered in the first six months
- Year-end net debt target lowered from £1.4bn- £1.5bn to around £1.2bn, and net debt expected to fall to less than £1bn by the end of 2017/18
Chairman Andrew Higginson said: "The new team has made a real difference and delivered further good progress across the board in the first half.
"Prices are lower, customers are being served better and quality is improving, as demonstrated by Morrisons winning a number of recent prestigious awards such as the 2016 Meat and Fish Retailer of the Year."