LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Morrisons, Britain's fourth largest supermarket group, reported another fall in underlying sales in its latest trading period encompassing Christmas, blaming a tough economic backdrop and consumer uncertainty.
The Bradford, northern England, based grocer said on Tuesday total group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel and VAT sales tax, fell 1.7% in the 22 weeks to Jan. 5 - a period that spans Morrisons third quarter to Nov. 3 and the nine week Christmas trading period.
The outcome compared to analysts' average forecast of a decline of 2.2%, and a second quarter fall of 1.9% which was its first decline since 2016.
Despite the sales fall Morrisons said it expected to report profit for the full 2019-20 year within the current range of analysts' forecasts. It said it had managed costs well throughout the period, offsetting some of the impact on underlying sales. (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)