UK grocery retailer Morrisons has announced plans to trial convenience stores in the first half of 2011 and is considering launching an online service.

The moves are the first in what is thought to be a raft of initiatives to be launched by new chief executive Dalton Philips.

The company, meanwhile, said today (9 September) that underlying profit before tax was up 14% to GBP410m (US$630.7m) for the first half of its fiscal year to 1 August. Turnover grew GBP9.1% to GBP8.1bn.

Like-for-like sales were up 0.9% in what non-executive chairman Sir Ian Gibson described as a “tight” market.

During the period, the retailer moved further into food manufacturing, acquiring a stir fry and prepared vegetable business, as well as a cooked meat production plant.

For the full results click here. Click here for coverage of Morrisons’ press briefing in the City – and its plans to rationalise its range and develop new in-store concepts.