Within a week of joining the retailer, Potts bought 508,000 shares at 205.85p each, according to a statement by Morrisons published by the London Stock Exchange on Friday (March 20).
According to the statement: “The company announces that on 19 March 2015 David Potts, chief executive officer, purchased 508,000 ordinary shares of 10 pence each in the company (‘shares’) on the London Stock Exchange at a price of 205.85p per share.”
‘Purchased 508,000 ordinary shares’
Morrisons’ shares climbed by 1.1p to 206.3p on the news. During the past year, the retailer’s shares plunged nearly 30% in value, as the Bradford-based retailer fell victim to the continuing price war between itself and the other three big retailers – Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury – and the discount chains Aldi and Lidl.
Meanwhile, it proved a busy week for the former Tesco executive who replaced Dalton Philips at the helm of the beleaguered retailer on Monday (March 16).
One of his first actions was to invite head office staff to join him on the shop floor this Easter – in a bid to “listen hard” to customers and store colleagues about how to revive the store’s flagging fortunes.
About 1,000 head office staff were expected to join Potts in stores over the holiday but all the 2,000-strong head office team will be expected to spend at least one week each year helping in stores, as part of a new ‘Team work’ initiative.
David Potts' busy week
- Begins work as ceo
- Invites HQ team to join him in stores over Easter
- Reviews customer feedback
- Invests £1M in Morrisons’ shares
Potts told his new colleagues: “I want to listen hard and respond to the views of as many customers and staff as I can. 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.”
‘We are all retailers’
He also spent his first week reviewing customer feedback with 12 store managers.
The new ceo will be hoping the listening exercise will drive customers back to the retailer, following news earlier this month that it had recorded its worst annual loss in eight years earlier this month.
The firm revealed a pretax loss of £792M and a 52% slump in pretax profit to £345M in full year results to February 1.
Alongside the results, the retailer revealed plans to cut 380 jobs with the closure of 23 unprofitable conveniences stores.