Morrisons to test online shopping

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Media captionDalton Phillips: "We've probably got the industry-leading sales in the market"

The UK's fourth biggest grocer, Morrisons, has said it hopes to trial online shopping and convenience stores next year.

The Bradford-based firm also announced half-yearly profit before tax of £410m, against profit of £359m a year before, an increase of 14%.

The firm said that in a "tight environment" it would continue to "exercise strong control of costs".

It expects low market growth to continue in the second half of 2010.

Morrisons chairman Sir Ian Gibson said: "Our first half performance has been solid, in a tight market."

The firm also said it was confident of meeting its full-year profit expectations.

The supermarket's new chief executive, Dalton Philips, said was "determined to make Morrisons better than ever".

'Successful story'

Morrisons operates more than 400 stores.

Like-for-like sales, excluding petrol and VAT sales tax, rose 0.9 % in the six months to the end of July.

"The 14% rise in first-half profit was towards the higher end of expectations, with total store sales growth continuing the recent strong trajectory," said Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

"Doubts do remain within the sector generally, particularly with the age of austerity combining with an already fierce operating environment... Nonetheless, Morrisons has been a successful growth story of late."

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