Magazine article Marketing

Supermarkets: Morrisons Plays Catch-Up

Magazine article Marketing

Supermarkets: Morrisons Plays Catch-Up

Article excerpt

The supermarket has struggled to differentiate itself in a tough, crowded market.

Earlier this month, Morrisons, the UK's fourth-biggest supermarket by market share, posted a disappointing set of third-quarter results, revealing a decline in like-for-like sales. It also announced the departure of commercial director Richard Hodgson, who joined from Waitrose in 2010.

Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips has blamed its lacklustre performance on the brand's failure to differentiate itself from competitors, and emphasise its 'fresh' offering, saying it needs to focus on its staff of more than 5000 butchers, fishmongers and bakers.

He has briefed Hodgson's interim replacement, Morrisons corporate services director Martyn Jones, to ensure that the supermarket communicates its points of difference and improves its promotions.

The retailer, best known for its value offers, has also come under pressure from rivals' money-off voucher promotions. Some analysts have suggested that one of the biggest challenges it faces is connecting with its core customer base and value roots. Morrisons' move to introduce 'extras' to many of its stores, including pizza counters and cake shops, has distanced the brand from its most loyal shoppers, they argue. The supermarket has also come under fire for introducing a 10%-off discount card offer in selected towns, designed to tempt in new customers.

How can the supermarket reconnect with its core customer base, and what does it need to do to strengthen its marketing messages and promotional tactics? Marketing asked Claire Harrison-Church, former director of brand communications at Sainsbury's, and Karen Buchanan, chief executive of Publicis London, which previously handled the Asda account.

MORRISONS STATS

Like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) were down by

2.1% for the 13 weeks to 28 October

Total sales dropped by

0.4%

Source: Morrisons

DIAGNOSIS - TWO INDUSTRY EXPERTS ON WHAT THE SUPERMARKET CAN DO TO RECONNECT WITH CONSUMERS

CLAIRE HARRISON-CHURCH - Former director of brand communications, Sainsbury's

Morrisons' failure to communicate its offer to consumers, and changing that offer, are the issues here. …

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