Investment in better products, better services, and more efficient ways of working have delivered results for Morrisons in a tightly contested Christmas trading period with the supermarket reporting like-for-like sales growth of 2.9% (excluding fuel) for the nine weeks to 1 January 2017.
Phil Dorrell, partner at Retail Remedy retail consultants, said: “Morrisons’ like-for-like sales growth over Christmas is quite remarkable and all the more noteworthy coming on top of last year’s like-for-like growth. Potts has turned this ship around and whilst navigating a big tanker like this takes time his grip on the tiller is both clear and strong.
“Morrisons’ Christmas marketing campaign was fresh and delivered a relevant food quality feel. ‘Morrison’s Makes It’ was well integrated across all channels and was a nice point of difference that Morrison’s will no doubt continue to exploit.
“The non-food areas were well set up with good availability. Conversely fresh, BWS and core grocery suffered the worst real world availability of all the Big 4, consistently weak over time and across the country as witnessed by the Retail Remedy team. Availability is a significant problem but the fact that Morrisons has delivered significant growth without it offers an impressive opportunity for their new ordering system for 2017. The competition should be concerned.
“Is Morrisons just becoming an imitation of Tesco’s in the early naughties? No, that would be to underplay the vertical nature of Morrisons’ business and the focus on pure retail. Yet with all the key departments having strong leadership from ex-Tesco people, it is not hard to see the potential direction of travel albeit with wiser and more cautious leadership.”