UK supermarket group Morrisons has reported a steep drop in pre-tax profit for the 12 months to 29 January from GBP332.2m (US$577.99m) to GBP61.5m, with Safeway conversion and integration costs and goodwill written off. Turnover was on a par with the previous year at GBP12.1bn.

However, the company said that like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) for the seven weeks to 19 March were up by 3.2%. The company has proposed a final dividend of 3.075p per share, with the total dividend maintained at 3.7p.

“The results we are presenting today are the outcome of an extremely challenging year for Morrisons,” said chairman Ken Morrison. “However, through this period of great change, we have built strong foundations for the company’s future as a national retailer.  We can look forward with renewed strength and energy now that we are one company with one focus – to be the Best Grocer In Town. 

“The Optimisation Plan, outlined today, lays out the steps we need to take over the next three years to enable the company to apply and adapt where necessary the original Morrisons model to the new, larger business. I am confident that the plan will quickly deliver significant improvements in performance.”

Proceeds from store disposals reached GBP460.2m, with the group’s net debt falling to GBP1.15bn.