Morrisons sees sales decline

MORRISONS​’ new boss David Potts​ said customers “hold the keys to the kingdom” when it comes to deciding what direction the embattled group should take following a further fall in sales.

​Mr Potts has visited 90 stores in the seven weeks since he joined the Bradford-based firm and said he will be guided by what customers and colleagues say the supermarket chain should be doing.

“I honestly believe if we listen very hard to customers and our own colleagues we won’t go far wrong,” he said.

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​“They already hold the keys to the kingdom.”

He was speaking as the group announced a 2.9 per cent fall in like-for-like sales​​ in the 13 weeks to May 3​.

Th​is was in line with​ 
analysts’ forecasts of a decline of about ​three​ per​ ​cent and ​
follows ​a fall of 2.6 per​ ​cent 
in the fourth quarter of ​last year.

Analysts noted comparative numbers were very weak as Morrisons’ like-for-like sales had slumped 7.1 per​ ​cent in the first quarter of 2014-15.

​​Ex-Tesco executive ​Mr ​Potts has ​been quick to make changes, axing the majority of the management team he inherited a week after joining.

He has also announced plans to cut head office staff by 720, at a cost of ​£​30​m to ​£40​m, while adding 5,000 shop floor staff to improve customer service.

​He has made himself popular with customers by bringing back​ staffed express checkouts, getting rid of the computerised queue management system and quietly removing the controversial misting machines, which were seen as a sign of just how profligate the previous management team had become.​

​Mr Potts’ moves to take the store back to basics have won the approval of the founder’s son and former boss Sir Ken Morrison.