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Morrisons’ profits plunge in 2020

Morrisons’ profits plunge in 2020
Photo: Morrisons

UK retailer Morrison’s has announced a 50.7% fall in profits to £201 million for the year to January 31. The plummeting profits are mainly due to the additional £290 million in costs linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. A large contributor is an increase in staff absences, as well as the £230 million impact of handing its business rates relief back to the Treasury.

Like-for-like sales (excluding fuel and VAT) rose by 8.6% thanks to strong grocery demand, with the final quarter seeing 9% growth. Full-year revenue was up by only 0.4% to £17.6 billion. 

However, Morrisons’ online sales tripled during the year and its capacity jumped five-fold.


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Morrisons raises minimum wage to £10 an hour in UK 

Morrisons offers discount for food suppliers ©
Photo: Moririson London by

Retailer Morrisons has announced it is to become the first supermarket in the UK to pay at least £10 an hour to all of its 120,000 staff, as from April 2021. The new payment policy will result in a significant pay increase of around 9% for 96,000 employees. Currently, Morrisons has a minimum hourly wage rate of £9.20. The increase will be primarily funded by investment in payroll, as well as changes to bonus pay-outs. Staff told the supermarket they would prefer to have a guaranteed amount in their hourly rate and receive it more regularly than the current bonus scheme.

Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “It’s great to be able to say that in the UK from April this year, if you work at Morrisons supermarkets, you will earn at least £10 an hour. It’s a symbolic and important milestone that represents another step in rewarding the incredibly important work that our colleagues do up and down the country.”

Morrisons said there would also be a London weighting, with rates for inner London rising by 85p and outer London by 60p per hour.

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Morrisons warns of higher supermarket prices if no Brexit deal

Morrisons warns of higher supermarket prices if no Brexit deal


UK retailer Morrisons has given a stark warning to the country’s government and consumers to expect higher food bills if no trade deal is signed between the UK and the EU. 

Speaking to The Guardian, chief executive of Morrisons, David Potts, said, “From our point of view representing British consumers we would like the government and the leaders of the country to negotiate a deal that includes no tariffs UK to Europe or Europe to the UK because tariffs do drive inflation. The warning follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suggestion this week that he might be ready to tear up his own Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Morrisons, which has its own food processing and packaging plants and has direct relationships with farmers, states that although the firm is in a good position to weather the Brexit storm, as two-thirds of its products are of British origin, perishable items such as fruit and vegetables cannot be stockpiled.

The major supermarkets expect a difficult Christmas in the light of rising unemployment and economic difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. While sales at Morrisons’ stores rose by 11.1%, profits sank by a quarter to £148m in the six months to 2 August, as the supermarket was forced to keep prices low amid heavy competition while costs rose during the pandemic. Morrisons spent an additional £155 million, including £47 million in extra pay, as it hired 45,000 more staff to cope with the shift to shopping online and to cover for staff self-isolating or off sick at the height of the pandemic. A staff bonus, protective kit, and the need for more vehicles to make deliveries also added to costs, which were only partly offset by a £93m boost from the business rates holiday.

Morrisons’ profits were also hit by the shift to less-profitable online sales as it doubled orders via its website and increased capacity for home delivery fivefold via a range of services including Amazon and a new box scheme. The supermarket chain is also piloting a “dark kitchen” at its central Manchester store, from which takeaway food will be delivered by courier firm Deliveroo, with plans for two more such kitchens in the coming months.

Morrisons’ share of the online grocery market is now above 10%, up from around 6% earlier this year, although growth is slowing down from where it was at the height of the pandemic.


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Morrisons offers discount for food suppliers

Morrisons offers discount for food suppliers ©


UK retailer Morrisons has announced it will be offering a 5% discount to all agricultural suppliers as recognition of their efforts to guarantee the functioning of the supply chain during the current pandemic, reports The discount will benefit the 2,700 operators who supply Morrisons with fruit and vegetables, as well as other products, and will be valid until July 12th.

Morrisons managing director, David Potts, said, “This is a difficult time for the nation and also for farmers and fishermen. We want to thank British farmers for continuing to provide excellent quality food despite the difficulties imposed by the emergency and, at the same time, invite customers to buy national food.”

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Morrisons teams up with Deliveroo for contact-free delivery

To help UK consumers cope with the current lockdown, retailer Morrisons has partnered with Deliveroo to offer on-demand delivery in 30 minutes to families struggling to secure delivery slots. The partnership is aimed at expanding delivery capabilities, with Morrisons now offering 70 “essential household” items via the Deliveroo app. The service is available from over 130 Morrisons stores across the UK on new £35 lockdown food boxes

Morrisons chief executive, David Potts said, “Our partnership with Deliveroo will help us to continue to play our full part in feeding the nation. It’s a great combination of traditional and modern methods and it will provide more vulnerable people with the opportunity to receive their home delivery.”

Last week, Morrisons announced a similar partnership with DPD to provide next-day delivery of its £35 food boxes. The Meat Eaters Food Box and a Vegetarian Food Box contain enough chilled, fresh and tinned food items to feed a couple for up to a week. Over 200,000 orders have been fulfilled since the partnership was announced.

Deliveroo announced a similar partnership this week with McColl’s to offer “contact free” delivery from over 120 stores.

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Morrisons says Britain set for best asparagus crop in a decade


Britain could have its best crop of outdoor grown asparagus in nearly ten years, Morrisons vegetable buyers have predicted.

In a press release, the UK retailer said intelligence on growing conditions from its farmers, and a forecast three month heat wave, would mean 2015’s asparagus crop could increase by up to 20%.

“Growing conditions look like they are going to be perfect,” said Morrisons asparagus buyer David Bartle. “The good weather will not only affect the amount of asparagus grown but also the quality of the crop. We could have the most exceptional year since 2007.”

Morrisons asparagus crop will arrive in store on 27 April. Most of the crop will originate from the supermarket’s outdoor growers in the Vale of Evesham and Kent.

The exceptionally warm growing conditions augur well for tender spears with tight heads which will taste sweet and fresh, the company said.

Read more.

Image: “Green Asparagus New York 11 May 2006” by Ryan Freisling. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons





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Big ad spends help Aldi, Lidl grab more of UK market

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German discounters Aldi and Lidl now hold an 11% slice of UK grocery sales.

According to Nielsen figures for the 12 weeks to March 28, Aldi’s sales grew 17.9% year-on-year, to reach a 6.2% share of the grocery market, and Lidl’s sales rose 10.8%, for a 4.9% share – cementing their positions as the UK’s 5th and 7th biggest supermarkets, respectively.

Lidl biggest spender on TV & press ads

In the four weeks to March 28, Lidl spent the most on TV and press advertising (£5.9 million) – up 160%  on the same period last year – followed by Asda (£4.0 million) and Aldi (£3.5 million).

“Aldi and Lidl have become the fifth and seventh biggest supermarkets partly due to their large ongoing investment in advertising. Not only do they consistently spend the most in relation to each percentage of market share they hold, their advertising has changed the perceptions and expectations of UK shoppers,” Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said.

Bad month for the Big Four

Over the same period, all of the big four supermarkets saw a decline in year-on-year grocery sales. Asda’s slipped 1.7%, Tesco’s 1.1% and Sainsbury’s and Morrisons 0.6% each.

However, Tesco remained in top ranking, with a share of 27.5%, followed by Sainsbury’s with 16%, Asda with 15.7% and Morrisons with 10.7%.

Outlook for next 3 months more positive

Watkins said the current trading environment is challenging for the supermarkets. “…people (are) spending less on groceries than they used to.”

“Consumer spend continues to be impacted by a combination of record-low food inflation and supermarkets’ competitive pricing policies – good news for shoppers but not retailers, whose margins are continually under pressure. However, the outlook for the next three months is more positive than we’ve seen for some considerable time,” he said.

Read the Nielsen press release.
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