Morrisons hits back at Ken Morrison’s ‘bullshit’ attack

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Morrisons defended its current strategy against Sir Ken Morrison's 'bullshit' attack
Morrisons defended its current strategy against Sir Ken Morrison's 'bullshit' attack

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Morrisons has hit back at claims from its former chairman Sir Ken Morrison that boss Dalton Philips’ strategy for the recovery of the business was “bullshit”.

After listening to Philips’ presentation at last week’s annual general meeting (agm), the 82-year old former chairman told him: “When I left work and started working as a hobby, I chose to raise cattle.

“I have something like 1,000 bullocks and, having listened to your presentation, Dalton, you’ve got a lot more bullshit than me​.”

The outspoken comments drew applause from the hundreds of shareholders who attended the agm at the retailer’s Bradford headquarters on June 5.

But a spokesman for the supermarket told on Friday (June 6) that management was adopting the right strategy to reverse the shortfalls in sales and profitability.

‘Clearly a difference of opinion’

“Clearly there’s a difference of opinion​ [between management and Morrison] about the company strategy​,” said the spokesman. “We are absolutely content that the right thing to do for Morrisons is to launch into the online space and to develop convenience as well as rapidly improve our systems, so that we have a 21st​ century business.”

Philips has previously stressed the challenge he faced in upgrading Morrisons’ out-of-date IT systems when he joined the retailer in January 2010. An industry insider told that Morrisons squandered the IT benefits it could have enjoyed from its acquisition of Safeway in March 2004.

Safeways’ IT systems were far in advance of Morrisons’ but were switched off after the acquisition in order to expedite the merger of the two retail businesses, this website was told.

Before the acquisition Morrisons operated about 100 stores nationwide. The Safeway acquisition contributed to the current total of about 500 stores.

Morrisons is under severe pressure from discount stores, such as Aldi and Lidl, and recently pledged to invest £1bn in price cuts to match the lower prices they offer. The lower prices would not affect suppliers but would be funded mainly through internal cost cutting, said the retailer.

‘Very consistent at about 11.5M a week’

While the supermarket’s total number of customers was static, shoppers were now visiting different stores, said the spokesman. “The number of customers visiting our stores is very consistent at about 11.5M a week,” ​he said. “What is happening is that they are sharing their shopping basket with other retailers.”

Last week Morrisons refused to confirm or deny media reports that it planned to axe up to 2,000 jobs​ as part of a management restructure.

In May the supermarket announced plans to cut 100 jobs at its Wakefield regional distribution centre. The changes will improve responsiveness and help to improve the distribution centre’s service to stores, said a Morrisons’ spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, despite Morrison’s criticism of management’s strategy, 94% of shareholders voted in favour of the current plan.

Also, 84.6% voted for the re-election of Philips as ceo of Morrisons and 84.6% for the re-election of Sir Ian Gibson as its chairman.  

But Gibson announced his decision at the agm to step down after eight years in the role.

At the end of April, Roger Owen, a former property director at Morrisons, called for Gibson’s resignation.

Morrisons reported a pre-tax loss of £176M for the year to February 2, compared with a pre-tax profit of £879M the year before. 

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Posted by Kay Ann,

Nick Holloway clearly does not recognise what it is like to shop or work in a Morrisons store these days neither does Dalton Phillips, not able to buy what you need because it is not on the shop floor(no staff to put it there)no one to serve you when you get to the checkouts. All this because of cuts already made by the professionals, professional idiots more like . Sir Ken is right Dalton Phillips needs to shop in his own stores not make announced presidential visits,talk to the people who really take the flack. Well done Sir Ken, please come back we need you.

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Stupid comments

Posted by Robert,

Ken not PROFFESSIONAL what a stupid comment he built the company up and it was good to work for then unlike now as it is being run by egotistic spotlight hungry idiots who hop from idea to idea and have only achieved tarnishing of the name and experience both working and shopping dalton needs to go and someone who understands what the customer wants not just the investors to take control

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New Ideas

Posted by Peter Crolla,

In the words of Gordon Ramsay, Dalton is a "Busy Idiot". He is working hard in the wrong places.

Personally, I would like Charles Fleming to be the next Chairman. He may not have a MBA to his name but his ideas are common sense to anyone.

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