Morrisons profits down 50% after £290m covid bill

Morrisons saw profits slide by 50.7 per cent in 2020, following £290 million in covid-related costs.

The supermarket chain reported a pre-tax and before exceptional costs profit of £201 million, dropping from £408 million in the previous year.

The retailer reported that profit before tax and exceptional costs would have been up 5.6 per cent to £431 million before the payment of £230 million of waived government business rates relief.

Morrisons’ online sales tripled during 2020 and the company said that both online and wholesale are profitable.

Group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT, were up by 8.6 per cent for the year.

The company said that it expects 2021/22 profits before tax and exceptional costs including rates paid to be “higher than the £431 million profit achieved for 2020/21 excluding the £230 million waived rates relief.”

“This has been a year where Morrisons resilience has been severely tested and I could not be more proud of the way the whole business has met that test,” said Andrew Higginson, chair, Morrisons. “As we look forward to brighter times ahead, Morrisons is developing into a stronger, better business with deeper and closer relationships with our customers and the communities we serve.”

Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “Morrisons key workers have played a vital role for all our stakeholders during the pandemic, especially the most vulnerable in British society, and their achievements over the last year have been remarkable.

He added: “I am delighted that we are recognising their enormous contribution by becoming the first supermarket to pay a minimum of £10 an hour to all store colleagues. We are also today showing our continuing gratitude and appreciation for the incredible work of other key workers in the nation, by extending our 10 per cent discount for NHS staff for the whole of 2021.”

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