Morrisons sales fall in 'fragile' market

Image caption Morrisons has been losing market share to rivals

Supermarket chain Morrisons, one of the UK's big four grocers, has reported another quarterly drop in sales, citing "fragile" consumer confidence.

Like-for-like sales - which strip out the effect of new store openings - fell 2.1% in the three months to 28 October.

The trading environment "has remained challenging", the supermarket said, and sales "were lower than anticipated".

Morrisons is the UK's fourth largest supermarket chain, behind Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

Total sales excluding fuel fell by 0.4% in the quarter, but rose 0.2% when petrol sales were included.

However, Morrisons said its full-year results would be "broadly in line with our expectations".

The company also announced that commercial director Richard Hodgson was leaving the day-to-day business, and would be replaced by corporate services director Martyn Jones on an interim basis.

On Wednesday, the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed that Morrisons' UK market share had fallen to 11.5% in the 12 weeks to 28 October, from 12% a year earlier.

Edward Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: "Morrisons' performance this month will cause concern."

"Recent announcements about the development of online and convenience, which are the two fastest growing grocery channels, will no doubt be given added urgency as these channels continue to deliver growth for competitors."

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