Morrisons to extend 10% discount for NHS amid nurses’ pay row – despite profits more than halving
Morrisons has vowed to extend its 10 per cent discount for NHS workers until the end of the year, despite profits more than halving.
The supermarket’s commitment comes as the Government faces a backlash over the 1 per cent hike in pay for nurses.
Morrisons first introduced the discount last April and said it reflected ‘continuing gratitude’ for the work of the health service during the crisis to date.
Morrisons chief executive David Potts (pictured) said the supermarket’s profits slump was ‘a badge of honour’ reflecting the supermarket’s commitment to ‘feed the nation’
The grocer posted a fall in profits yesterday after suffering £290million of costs related to the pandemic.
Profits fell 62.1 per cent to £165million for the year to January 31, down from £435million the year before.
The company explained its bottom line was impacted by a £99million bill for staff bonuses and wages while they self-isolate, £46million to make its stores safe, and the £230million of business rates relief it waived.
Chief executive David Potts said the result was ‘a badge of honour’ reflecting the supermarket’s commitment to ‘feed the nation’, and that profits will rebound as the economy reopens.
Morrisons’ sales only rose by 0.3 per cent because of the closure of its cafes and food counters, and lower fuel sales.
Bosses announced a 5.1 per cent final dividend. The handout meant that, including a special dividend, the total dividend rose by 27.1 per cent to 11.2p, equivalent to £268million.
Morrisons was able to triple online sales during the year, as capacity jumped five-fold, thanks to its ever-growing ties with Amazon.
Potts said online sales are ‘more profitable than people think’. At the same time Morrisons is supplying Amazon’s Fresh store in west London.
Potts declined to comment when asked if Amazon was preparing a takeover bid.
Shares fell 1 per cent to 175.25p.