Morrisons boss tells HQ team to work on shop floor

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Morrisons ceo David Potts wants the top team to 'listen hard' to customers and store colleagues
Morrisons ceo David Potts wants the top team to 'listen hard' to customers and store colleagues

Related tags Morrisons David potts

Morrisons’ boss David Potts has told his head office staff to work on the shop floor this Easter – in a bid to persuade them to “listen hard” to customers and store colleagues. 

Just four days after starting his role as chief executive on Monday (March 16), Potts told his 2,000 head office staff that he would be working in a store over the Easter holidays. About 1,000 head office staff are expected to join Potts in stores over the holiday.

But all the head office team will be expected to spend least one week each year helping in stores as part of a new ‘Team work’ initiative.

“I want to listen hard and respond to the views of as many customers and staff as I can,”​ Potts told the headquarters team. “I strongly believe that we are all retailers and we can learn how to serve our customers better when we are working in our stores or when we do our own shopping.”

‘I want to listen hard’

Morrisons’ customers and store staff will be invited to tell the Morrisons’ top team what they like about the retail chain but also what it could do better. “Mr Potts plans to use this insight as he works to improve the business,”​ said the retailer.

The Morrisons boss has also spent his first week in the top job reviewing customer feedback about different aspects of shopping at the retailer with 12 store managers, who came together at Morrisons’ supermarket in Guiseley, West Yorkshire.

A former Tesco director, Potts took over from Dalton Philips, whose recovery strategy for the beleaguered retailer was famously slammed as “bullshit”​ by its outspoken former chairman Sir Ken Morrison at last year’s annual general meeting in Bradford.

Last week the retailer announced plans to axe 380 jobs with the closure of 23 unprofitable conveniences stores. The news accompanied the firm’s full-year results to February 1, which revealed a pre-tax loss of £792M and a 52% slump in pre-tax profit to £345M.

Advice for the boss

Whatever Potts’ final plans for the recovery of the business, there was no shortage of advice on how to revive the retailer’s flagging fortunes.

Weaponise food manufacturing

City analyst Shore Capital advised him to ‘weaponise’​ the supermarket’s strong food manufacturing connections. The retailer’s vertical integration was “a demonstrable virtue”, ​said its analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley.

“In our view, Mr Higginson​ [Morrisons' chairman] characterised it well from a strategic perspective; if it is a weapon that can be used to differentiate to customer benefit then it is worthwhile,”​ said Black and Shirley.

“If it is not, then other paths may have to be explored. We sense that Mr Potts will seek to extol vertical integration, 'Market Street' and Morrison's Yorkshire and British heritage to maximum effect.”

Andrew Higginson said: “It’s great strengths are around fresh food, the service quality of the food, the great prices. The cornerstone of the business being fresh – whether that’s the butchers, the bakers, the fishmongers.

“And all of that is still there and just needs to be revitalised. That will remain the cornerstone of the business, we need to be that quirky Morrisons again with the focus on fresh,”​ told BBC Radio 4’s Today ​programme.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph​ helpfully supplied Potts with a six-point to-do list​. Topping the list was advice on how to manage Sir Ken and the key importance of re-establishing the retailer’s identity.

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast