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William Morrison unveils excellent figures

UK supermarket chain William Morrison today unveiled a 42% increase in profits for the first half of 2009 as it continues to make up ground on the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda. However, the increase in profitability from £218 million for the same period last year to £309 million this year was not enough to save the shares from profit-taking. So what is happening in the UK supermarket sector?

While William Morrison continues to expand and profits continue to grow the company has expressed concern that food inflation in the UK is starting to subside and growth in the sector should slow in the second half of 2009. Despite the fact that the group has made up ground on its competitors, the elements for the first half of 2009, i.e. higher commodity and oil prices, which saw food prices increase will have less of an impact in the second half.

The group also saw net debt increase as the ongoing expansion plan brought in a number of stores from the likes of the Co-operative. After a very difficult period in the company's history, predominantly caused by the acquisition of Safeway, it would appear that William Morrison is leaving a consolidation period and looking to catch up on competitors in the UK.

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