Morrisons pays special dividend after profit rises 11 pct

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Morrisons shareholders will get their hands on a bumper payout this year after its booming wholesale business and strong in-store sales boosted full-year profits.

Based in the northern English city of Bradford, the group made an underlying pretax profit of 374 million pounds in the year to February 4 - ahead of analysts' average forecast of 371 million pounds and up from 337 million pounds in 2016-17. With that said, pre-tax profits improved by 17% YoY as food price inflation returns to the United Kingdom after years in absentia, although management noted that FX headwinds remain for imported goods.

Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) will pay a special dividend to shareholders, the blue-chip grocer has said.

Morrisons' profits were by 16.9 per cent to £380m during the 2016/2017 financial year while the supermarket giant also enjoyed a boost in sales and revenue.

"Morrisons is now entering its third consecutive year of growth", the group's chairman Andrew Higginson commented in the statement. "We will continue to prioritise consistent, meaningful and sustainable growth, which I am confident we are well placed to keep delivering".

Morrisons said sales of local suppliers' foods had risen 50% in the past two years after signing deals with more than 200 farmers and other local food producers and tailoring stores to regional tastes.

Potts has also overhauled Morrisons' online strategy through a renegotiated agreement with distributor Ocado OCDO.L and wholesale supply deals with Amazon AMZN.O , Rontec petrol forecourts, the McColl's MCLSM.L convenience chain and Channel Islands retailer Sandpiper.

He added: "We had a strong year, becoming more competitive and increasingly differentiating Morrisons for all stakeholders".