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Thursday preview: Morrison to report annual profit decline

Morrison Supermarkets is expected to report its first profit decline in six years when it unveils its 2012 results on Thursday.

Morrison Supermarkets is expected to report its first profit decline in six years when it unveils its 2012 results on Thursday.

Pre-tax profit is forecast to slip to £876m from £947m, according to Jefferies International.

"The upcoming finals should be an important milestone for Morrisons," the broker said.

"We expect the group to detail further the causes for the weakening sales momentum since September 2012."

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Morrisons was one of only two major British supermarkets proven not to have sold horsemeat mislabelled as beef this year. As a result, meat sales have risen slightly in recent months.

However, it has done little to prevent its share of the country's £163bn grocery market from falling 0.4 percentage point in the four weeks ended February 17th, Kantar Worldpanel data revealed.

Chief Executive Officer Dalton Philips has already laid out his intentions to turn the company around as it focuses on fresh produce and lures customers away from rivals with lower prices and more attractive stores.

When the chain releases its annual results, Philips is expected to address the company's underperformance, lack of convenience stores and presence on the web.

Morrisons will need to get up to speed as online grocery sales in the UK double to £11.1bn and the convenience-store market expand by 29% by 2017, according to the Institute for Grocery Distribution.

Thursday March 14

INTERIMS

Air Partner, Quayle Munro Holdings, Regenersis

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Murgitroyd Group

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Current Account (US) (13:30)

ECB Report (EU) (09:00)

Producer Price Index (US) (13:30)

Q4

Eastern Platinum Ltd (DI)

GMS

Ceres Media International, CSR

FINALS

Eastern Platinum Ltd (DI), Fairpoint Group, Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets, Playtech Ltd., Plaza Centers NV, Salamander Energy, Tribal Group, TT Electronics

ANNUAL REPORT

Herald Inv Trust

AGMS

Arden Partners, Avesco Group, Chrysalis VCT, Octopus Titan VCT 1, Octopus Titan VCT 2, Octopus Titan VCT 4, Octopus Titan VCT 5

TRADING ANNOUNCEMENTS

Home Retail Group

FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Sinclair (William) Holdings

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