Have a butcher’s at 477pc rise over year

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DURING the scorching July of 2013, Britons brushed the cobwebs off their barbecues, and re-discovered the art of dining outdoors.

The terrible summer of 2012 seemed to reflect the wider economic gloom of the time, but the sun truly shone on my share tip this year.

In 2013, I predicted that Rotherham-based butchery chain Crawshaw Group, which owns shops across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, would have a bumper year, thanks to its smart management.

I believe that during times of austerity, firms like Crawshaws will always be a safe long-term bet, because they have loyal customers who aren’t swayed by passing trends.

The company is considering re-starting its expansion programme in response to improved trading.

More shops means higher sales and the company’s commitment to growth will be welcomed.

Crawshaws’ share price closed 2012 at 3.12p.

Yesterday, its share price closed at 18p, a whopping rise of 477 per cent over the course of the year.

So can my winning streak continue in 2014? This year, I’m choosing a household name which is never out of the spotlight.

Working on the principle that latecomers can still steal the scene at the best parties, I’m placing my faith in Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons.

The “party” in question is online shopping. After a testing period, I believe Morrisons can make real headway in 2014.

Morrisons is preparing to launch its long awaited online shopping service, which it hopes will cover 50 per cent of the population by the end of January 2015.

It plans to sign up a million new customers a month as part of its launch schedule.

The grocer hopes to use Ocado’s delivery expertise and its strong position in fresh foods to steal customers from its big three rivals - Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Leeds-based Asda. The grocer is launching its online business from a standing start via a technology tie-up with Ocado, after its absence from the web market was partly blamed for slowing sales.

Chief executive Dalton Philips has promised that Morrisons’ online offering will be unique.

“We are late to the party, but I am confident we can make quite an entrance,” he said recently.

I believe 2014 will mark a turning point in Morrisons’ fortunes, after a prolonged period of underachievement. Morrisons shares closed 2013 at 261p.