LONDON -- The shares of Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LSE:MRW) fell 2% to 291 pence during early London trading this morning after the supermarket announced a 2% decline in like-for-like sales.
Morrison, the U.K.'s fourth-largest grocer, has been recently focused on catching up to the online and convenience store offerings of its supermarket rivals.
Having started the quarter with just 12 convenience stores, Morrison claimed it was on track to open its 100th "M Local" shop by the end of the year.
The company said the launch its online grocery service was on schedule for January 2014, and confirmed that strategic discussions with online grocer Ocado were still ongoing.
Morrison chief executive Dalton Phillips commented:
We have made a solid start to the year, with our sales performance improving since the last quarter. Our promotions have been more innovative and we are explaining Morrisons points of difference more effectively.
These efforts were further reinforced by the horsemeat scandal which helped drive increasing customer recognition of Morrisons unique supply chain and approach to meat sourcing. They now understand that Morrisons is best placed to sell food that is what it says it is.
Strategically, our ambition of building a genuinely multi-format, multi-channel Morrisons is right on track.
With a market cap of 6.8 billion pounds, Morrison shares trade at 11 times expected earnings, and offer a prospective dividend yield of 4.5%.
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