Morrisons has scaled back its convenience store ambitions as it announced a 7.4% decline in like-for-like sales for the first half of the year.
The multiple today posted a 51% drop in pre-tax profit to £181m for the first six months of its three-year plan, which centres on reducing prices across its estate.
It opened 17 M Local c-stores in the six months to 3 August, taking the total to 119. However, it now expects to open around 60-70 c-stores this year, lower than its target of 100. As a result Morrisons now anticipates M Local sales of around £300m, compared to the original target of £350m.
“We retain ambitious future growth targets, and still plan for up to 100 new M local stores per year from 2015/16,” the company said in a statement.
Chief executive Dalton Philips said he was encouraged by the progress of the three-year plan and that Morrisons was “getting back on the front foot”.
“Price investment, in-store improvements, and better products were all key components of the work undertaken in the first half, and the Morrisons card launches soon,” he said.
“Our new growth channels – online and convenience – are progressing well, and our cost-savings and cash flow plans are both on track to achieve our ambitious three-year targets.”