Big four supermarket Morrisons is to cut prices on more than 1,000 items, as it looks to win back customers in the heated supermarket price war.
The Bradford-based supermarket is to cut the price of 1,072 items with many of the reductions on fresh food, such as fruit and vegetable.
David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “We are cutting the prices of products that customers will welcome being cheaper at Morrisons and we are cutting every penny we can.
“We continue to listen carefully to customers and they have told us they want lower prices, particularly on fresh food and everyday essentials. As we improve our customers’ shopping trip we are becoming more competitive with our own distinct set of prices.”
The price cuts will be accompanied by a marketing campaign called “Price Crunch” which will communicate the lower prices to customers through external and in-store advertising.
Price Crunch will be a rolling programme of lower prices, typically lasting a minimum of three months.
The Bradford-based grocer said on average it cut prices by 19 per cent on fruit and veg last week.
Morrisons said it will be using its extensive food manufacturing business to keep prices down.
Over the past few years the big four supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons - have struggled against the rise of German discounters Aldi and Lidl.
The German discounters are thrashing their British counterparts with sales growth of 18.5 per cent and 13.3 per cent respectively, with their combined market share up from 8.3per cent last year to 9.7 per cent.
Dalton Philips was sacked as chief executive of Morrisons in February 2015 and replaced by former Tesco boss Mr Potts, as disgruntled shoppers headed for Aldi and Lidl.
But there have been signs of recovery at Morrisons under the leadership of Mr Potts, despite being relegated from the FTSE 100 in December.
Earlier in January Morrisons cheered investors with a surprise rise in sales over the festive period, ending three years of decline.
Like-for-like sales rose 0.5 per cent in the six weeks to January 3, a far better performance than last year’s 3.1 per cent decline
Mr Potts said: “We are on a long journey to lead the revival of this great company. We are the small guy in the squeezed middle. We are the British underdog.”
Roger Owen, former property director at Morrisons, said: “I’ve likened Morrisons to a supertanker heading for an iceberg and before you turn anything like that around you’ve got to stop it. David Potts is doing a good job of just that.”
He praised David Potts for putting more resources in to the stores.
But the former property director added: “Personally, I think he needs to put a bit more in because product availability on the shelves in the stores is still not as good as it ought to be, but it’s a lot better than it was when that ‘wrecking ball’ called Dalton Phillips was in charge.
“He needs to put more people into the stores to get them filled up, keep them filled up and keep the customers happy.”
Morrisons announced the closure of its long-standing Westgate store in Bradford, along with six other stores across the country.
Morrisons has already shut 21 unprofitable stores and sold its 140-strong M Local convenience estate.
“This is the end of the programme of store closures. We are drawing a line under that phase of recovery,” said Mr Potts.
Changes point to exciting future
MORRISONS HAS an exciting future ahead of it thanks to a credible, new management team, according to a leading city commentator.
Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital said: “Morrisons has demonstrably started to self-improve in-store. We can see this from our own visits to shops and the last two trading updates.”
Since Andrew Higginson became chairman of the Bradford-based grocer a year ago, the board of Morrisons has been transformed. The former Tesco boss by bringing in David Potts in as chief executive.
Morrisons beefed up its boardroom with the appointment of city heavyweight Rooney Anand, the chief executive of Greene King, as a non-executive director.
Irwin Lee, Belinda Richards, Paula Vennells and Neil Davidson were also appointed to the board.
“There is a credible new management team at the helm of Morrisons, which we believe that the market is starting to recognise and this augurs well for the delivery of operating self-improvement in 2016,” said Mr Black.