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Rain dampens Morrisons sales

A rainy couple of months depressed sales at W Morrisons, the grocery chain has admitted.Morrisons said its sales growth had slipped since its May AGM, when it reported increased pre-tax profit of £374 million for 2006/07 compared to £54 million in the previous 12 months.The supermarket blamed tougher comparisons against last year's figures, when it said the market was doing well from good weather and the World Cup, for the subsequent slip.But despite this, like-for-like sales for the 23 weeks to July 15th saw growth of three per cent, leading chairman Sir Ken Morrison to say the board was "satisfied" with progress to date."Sales volumes are lower than we would like, but the company's new marketing and store programme will commence later this month," he said."Good progress is being made towards meeting our ambitious margin and cost targets and we are confident that we are well on track to deliver our expected outcome for the year."The supermarket's rain-dampened performance reflects a wider dip in the retail sector, as torrential unseasonal downpours have depressed footfall on the high street.The British Retail Consortium noted that last year's good weather has distorted the like-for-like figures, with clothing and footwear, DIY and gardening all also suffering in June.But it said continued growth of retail space contributed to the three per cent growth on June 2006, representing a total advance of 5.1 per cent.

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