Morrisons ushered in its best sales growth in nearly a decade, while customers flocked to British products.
Defining retail gloom and threats from German German rivals Lidl and Aldi, the supermarket hit expectations in the six months to August 5 in a transformation led by chief executive David Potts.
Former sales clerk Potts, 61, lowered the strong numbers to ask about his British products, which account for two-thirds of Morrisons sales.
Morrison's chief executive Dave Potts credited the supermarkets with strong demand figures for British products, which accounted for two-thirds of Morrisons sales
Produce such as Squeaky Cheese, Yorkshire's answer to halloumi, and Plumgarths sausages from Kendal in Cumbria helped increase sales by 6.3 percent in the second quarter, the best performance for nine years.
Sales in the same store rose by 4.9 percent in the first six months of the year. Exceptional costs of £ 61 million took the brilliance away when Morrison's profit went through a 29 per cent blow to £ 200 million.
The latest figures come in the midst of a period of intense competition in the supermarket sector. Sainsbury & # 39; s and Asda are preparing to join forces in a £ 14 billion merger, while Tesco launches a discount chain – Jacks – to address Aldi and Lidl.
Potts said that the latest figures from Morrisons showed that the supermarket did not have to be a colossus to be successful.
It has nearly 500 stores spread across the UK compared to Tesco, which has 3,435, and Sainsbury's, which has 1,423. Asda has 635 supermarkets.
From the work floor to the boardroom
- David Potts was 14 when he got his first job with a greengrocer
- He left the school at the age of 16 after failing all five O levels
- Potts got a job as a shelf stacker at Tesco in 1973
- At the age of 24, he became Tesco's youngest store manager
- He eventually ran Tesco in Ireland and then Asia
- He left in 2011 after he had not handed in the top job
- In March 2015 he became chief executive of Morrisons
- The shares of the supermarket have risen by 30 percent since joining him
- Now 61, Potts has two sons Dan and George and a partner, Jane
He said: "We enjoy the cut and thrust of the British supermarket market and are accustomed to compete successfully on a larger scale. We have shown that scale is not the defining characteristic of supermarket sales. & # 39;
The supermarket rewarded investors by distributing a special dividend of 2p per share and increased the ordinary interim dividend by 11.4 percent to 1.85p per share.
The payout brings Morrisons' total interim dividend to 3.85p, which is 132 percent more than a year earlier.
Since joining Potts in 2015, Potts has made a transformation at the retailer, which has grown again and the debt has fallen from £ 2.8 billion to £ 929 million and has achieved a return of 57 percent on the shareholders.
He has worked with McColl & # 39; s and Amazon and has stored package collection units and Timpson services for cutting and restoring phones in stores.
Analysts said that the links generated turbo revenues.
Morrisons now sells around 10,000 products through Amazon Fresh, allowing customers to order their groceries and deliver them within an hour.
It also revived the Safeway brand at McColl's after the 2004 supermarket purchase.
It now sells ready-to-eat Safeway and fresh produce at 1300 McColl stores.
AJ Bell analyst Russ Mold wondered how long Morrisons' winning streak could continue.
It has 10.4 percent of the market compared to Tesco, the leader, which has 27.4 percent.
If the Sainsbury & # 39; s and the Asda deal get the all-clear, the group will have a combined share of more than 30 percent.
At this moment the company is clearly on a roll, but the big question is how long this can take, & # 39; Mold said.
"When Sainsbury & # 39; s get permission from the competition authorities to merge with Asda, Morrisons suddenly looks much weaker. That can lead Morrisons to think seriously about working with Co-op. & # 39;
Mince pies in Christmas punch
Morrisons sell minced pies filled with five times more alcohol than last year as part of its Christmas assortment.
The all-butter pasty treat, part of the exclusive "The Best" range, is filled with seasoned minced beef made from sultanas, cognac, cider and orange oil. Sold in a box of six and suitable for vegetarians, the meatballs will be sold later this month for £ 2 in stores.
The grocery also launches a vegan food line, with chili con carne alternative & # 39; non carne & # 39 ;, and a dairy-free Red Leicester cheese.