Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Behind the Spin - Morrisons

Magazine article Management Today

Brain Food: Behind the Spin - Morrisons

Article excerpt

THE DILEMMA

The recent fortunes of Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons are like a day-old Yorkshire pudding - it started out all golden and fluffy, but soon deflated into a sodden mess. After the pounds 3.3 billion takeover of Safeway in March 2004, Morrisons gave its first-ever profits warning (with two more since), then lost its finance director and one of only two non-execs. Though like-for-like sales at core stores rose by 7.1% and sales at converted Safeway stores increased by 10.9%, those at unconverted Safeway stores fell by 6.8%. Middle-class customers have found themselves fleeing mountains of spaghetti hoops to seek solace in Tesco's buffalo mozzarella-lined fridges.

THE SPIN

'The task of converting Safeway has been challenging,' said chairman Sir Ken Morrison, 'but I believe we have made good progress towards our objective of becoming one of the four major national food retailers.' He told the FT: 'I speak as a retailer, and as a retailer I can tell you it is going well and we have got a feel of it.' Martin Ackroyd stepped down as FD because 'he is a private person', and non-exec Duncan Davidson 'for personal reasons'.

THE STRAIGHT TALK

Sir Ken's style veers towards the autocratic - the firm has been criticised by investors, shareholders and analysts for poor corporate governance. …

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