Market pressures

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THE growing financial clout of the major supermarkets is underlined by the fact that Bradford-based Morrisons is to shed up to 700 jobs – even after recording profits of £879m last year.

Its argument is this. The potential redundancies equate to less than one per cent of the firm’s 131,000 workforce nationally and it must respond to a seven per cent fall in profits which has seen its market share squeezed.

There is, of course, the likelihood that new jobs will be created when the company starts rolling out its smaller M shops to high streets across Britain, part of the Morrisons strategy to enable it to keep pace with its rivals who have already attempted to corner this business.

Nevertheless, what does this say about the challenge facing smaller, independent retailers whose low profit margins continue to be hit further by the relentless expansion of supermarkets?

They need every possible support, even more so when there is no guarantee of job security at a firm which still made a profit of nearly £1bn in the teeth of this country’s deepest economic malaise since the Great Depression.