By Daniel Hunter

Supermarket chain Morrisons have seen their annual profits boosted by what they deem 'professional shoppers'.

Profits in 2011 were up 8.4% from 2010, or £947 million, as Morrisons saw an increase in bargain hunters sharing information on social networks.

The opening of 34 stores also helped Morrisons, the UK's fourth largest supermarket, to attract a record number of customers last year.

Social media
Speaking to the BBC, Morrisons' chief executive Dalton Philips said the rise of the "professional shopper" had been a "phenomena we've been seeing for the last six, eight months or so".

"They are customers who are spending to a specific budget - they are spending more time cooking at home, so cooking from scratch," Morrisons' chief executive Dalton Philip said to the BBC on professional shoppers.

"And they are shouting about the bargains that they see out there, going onto social media checking for them and communicating them.

"With unleaded prices at the pump up by 15.4p per litre and diesel increasing by 18.5p, motorists were paying an average of 15% more per litre at the pump than they did last year [2010]."

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