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Morrisons chief to step down

Morrisons has announced that chief executive Dalton Philips is to step down after five years at the helm of the struggling supermarket business.

Morrisons Credit: Press Association

The move was announced as the Bradford-based chain reported that like-for-like sales fell 3.1% in the six weeks to January 4.

Andrew Higginson, who is due to become chairman later this month, said the company's board believed the push to return the business to growth was "best done under new leadership.

Mr Higginson said it was "time for a fresh pair of eyes" over the business, although he pointed out that the company's Christmas performance was not a factor in the decision to change leadership.

Mr Philips said: "I'm very sad to be leaving but when a board wants to make a change you accept that and move on."

Morrisons also announced it is planning to close 10 loss-making smaller stores, putting more than 400 jobs at risk.

With the retailer's festive trading sales figures meeting City expectations, shares in Morrisons jumped 6% following the leadership change.

As part of a wider plan announced in March to invest £1 billion in price cuts over three years, initiatives from Mr Philips have included a new loyalty card

scheme promising to match prices at discounters Aldi and Lidl.

There have been signs that the strategy is starting to pay off after closely watched data from Kantar Worldpanel pointed to an improved sales trend.

Morrisons added today that a key performance indicator measuring items per basket was down by 0.2% on a year earlier compared with 2.4% earlier in the financial year. The decline in the number of transactions was also reduced.

Morrisons auditor denies data fraud

A Morrisons employee has denied abusing his position to fraudulently disclose personal data at the Bradford-based supermarket firm.

Morrisons auditor denies data fraud Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Andrew Skelton, a senior internal auditor, denied charges under the Computer Misuse Act, the Data Protection Act and the Fraud Act. Skelton, 43, from Liverpool, was charged with the offences after an investigation at the Morrisons head office in Bradford.

The supermarket employee appeared at Bradford Magistrates' Court and spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth and to enter not guilty pleas.

The court clerk read the charges to Skelton, who stood in the witness box wearing a dark suit, pale blue tie and glasses.

He is accused of using a computer to gain unauthorised access to a programme or data with the intent to commit fraud; knowingly or recklessly disclosing personal data without the consent of the data controller; and conspiring to commit fraud by abusing his position with the intention of causing loss to Morrisons supermarkets.

All the offences are alleged to have taken place between November last year and March 20 this year.

Skelton was released on bail and will appear at Bradford Crown Court on December 16.

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Morrisons profits take 51% dive

Profits at Morrisons have dived by more than half after the supermarket chain's sales were savaged in the industry's ongoing price war.

Morrisons profits take 51% dive Credit: Press Association

Like-for-like sales slumped by 7.4% in the half-year to August 3, while underlying profits dropped 51% to #181 million as the Bradford-based company committed more money to lowering its prices.

It is six months into a three-year turnaround plan involving an "enormous amount of change and modernisation" but said it was too early to see the impact of this work on sales.

Conditions are tough, and the industry is going through unprecedented change.

– Sir Ian Gibson, Chairman

Tesco and Morrisons have been the major casualties in the recent shake-up of the sector, with Tesco recently cutting its half-year dividend payment by 75% in order to preserve funds for new chief executive Dave Lewis. Morrisons said today that its financial position remained strong and that it would increase its interim dividend payment by 5%.

Although it is too early to see the benefits of the three-year plan in the sales line, Morrisons is getting back on the front foot, and implementing change and innovation at real pace throughout the business

– Dalton Philips, Morrisons Chief Executive
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First-half profits at Morrisons slump by 51%

Britain's fourth largest supermarket Morrisons has announced a 51 per cent slump in its first-half profits as it posted its lowest figures for eight years.

Morrisons trails Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's in annual sales. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Bradford-based group said it made an underlying pre-tax profit of £181 million in the six months to Aug. 3.

Turnover fell 4.9 per cent to £8.5 billion, while sales at stores - excluding fuel and VAT sales tax - fell 7.4 per cent.

Supermarket giants to cut 2,600 management posts

Morrisons logo

Bradford-based supermarket giants Morrisons has today begun discussions with staff and unions about a simpler management structure , which will result in the loss of 2,600 jobs.

The changes would modernise the way stores are managed with the aim of reducing in-store management tiers, simplifying responsibilities and improving customer service.

Some Morrisons stores currently have seven tiers between the shop floor and the store manager.

The company has already trialled the new management structures and fsya that it led to stronger performance.

Dalton Philips, Morrisons Chief Executive, said: “This is the right time to modernise the way our stores are managed. These changes will improve our focus on customers and lead to simpler, smarter ways of working.

“We know that moving to the new management structure will mean uncertainty for our colleagues and we will be supporting them through the process.”

Implementing the new store structure would bring together department managers and supervisor positions into a single and smaller tier of team managers. From this group Morrisons is proposing to promote 1,000 into new duty manager roles to strengthen the senior management team in each store.

Morrisons expects the proposed changes to the management structure will involve around 2,600 redundancies.

This year, 1,000 jobs will be created in Morrisons M local convenience stores and an additional 3,000 in new supermarkets. Morrisons will look to offer displaced colleagues the opportunity to work in these growing businesses.

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Morrisons chairman to stand down

Sir Ian Gibson Credit: ITV Yorkshire

The chairman of Bradford-based supermarket giants Morrisons, Sir Ian Gibson, has announced that he will stand down at next year’s annual general meeting.

The news came ahead of today’s AGM at the group's head office on Gain Lane which follows a loss-making year in 2013 as Morrisons sales continued to be squeezed by low cost competitors.

Morrisons said it would conduct ‘an orderly process’ to find a successor and further announcements will be made, as appropriate.'

Sir Ian said: "This term will take me into my eighth year on Wm Morrisons Board and this announcement gives the Board time to conduct an orderly search for a new chairman and ensure a smooth transition."

Sir Ian, who joined the company as non-executive deputy chairman in September 2007, was appointed chairman following the retirement of Sir Ken Morrison in March 2008.

Jobs at risk at Morrisons' distribution centre

A workers' union says it is in talks with Morrisons over job losses at the Wakefield distribution centre.

A hundred jobs at risk in Morrisons' distribution centre Credit: Press Association

The Yorkshire based supermarket announced that up to 100 jobs are to be lost at the centre.

Unite are in discussions over the closure of one of the warehouses at the Junction 41 site and it is thought that most job losses will be among warehouse staff.

Some workers also face a reduction in their working week from 45 to 40 hours a week and others a move from the night shift to days. T

The company is also looking to increase the flexibility of their drivers by making changes to their working patterns

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