MORRISONS has reported increases in sales, revenue and profits in its preliminary results for the year ending February 3.

Group like-for-like sales excluding fuel and VAT were up 4.8 per cent, total revenue was up 2.7 per cent to £17.7 billion and profit before tax and exceptionals was up 8.6 per cent to £406 million.

Morrisons said that it remained confident that it still has many sales and profit growth opportunities ahead, and expected that growth to be meaningful and sustainable.

It said revenue growth of 5.1 per cent was the best since 2009/10 and Morrisons Daily convenience stores are now in 115 locations.

Its share price fell slightly to 223.5p, up from 211.8p on December 31 but still down compared to its six-month high of 260.25p.

Chairman Andrew Higginson said: “In a challenging period for customers and an ever-changing British retail scene, the turnaround at Morrisons has continued to progress well. The team has now completed four years of important work, building Morrisons as a broader, stronger business.

“I am delighted that sales and profit again grew strongly, and that we are able to share that growth with our shareholders through increased dividends.”

David Potts, Chief Executive, said: “A third consecutive year of strong sales and profit growth, and a total annual dividend up over 150 percent during those three years, show the Morrisons turnaround is well on track.

“This turnaround is based on improving the shopping trip for customers, making Morrisons more popular and accessible.

“And our customers are noticing. Most pleasing of all was another big increase in customer satisfaction, now up a full 20 percentage points in the last four years, which is all down to the friendliness and expertise of our team of unique food makers and shopkeepers.”

The company said that reflecting progress so far and its expectations, it was announcing a further special dividend of 4p per share and a final ordinary dividend of 4.75p, taking the total dividend for the year to 12.60p.

This means that a total dividend of £289m has been paid to shareholders in 2018/19.

The company said its expects to begin to supply McColl’s remaining 300 convenience stores towards the end of 2019, and still expect £1bn of annualised wholesale supply sales in due course.

It reported a further £12m incremental profit from wholesale, services, interest and online, taking the total so far to £54m. It said it was on track for its £75–£125m target.

Morrisons also announced a plan to trial converting ten McColl’s stores to Morrisons Daily convenience stores.