Morrisons may be turning, but Tesco's like the Titanic

 

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The Independent Online

Outlook Supermarkets often like to quietly demean the quarterly Kantar figures concerning their sales and market shares. Unless, that is, they make them look good. It’s a fair bet, then, that you won’t find much criticism emanating from Morrisons this time round. After 18 months of misery Kantar suggests there may be a chink of light at the end of the grocer’s long, dark tunnel, in the form of a modest (and at 0.1 per cent it is very modest) rise in sales.

My colleague Simon Neville notes archly that its chief executive, David Potts, can largely thank the website launched by his unlamented predecessor, Dalton Philips, for the rare ray of sunshine he’s enjoying. But Mr Potts could be forgiven for taking what he can get before what may well turn out to be a rather ill-tempered annual meeting later this week, inconveniently timed to coincide with the supermarket group’s impending relegation from the FTSE 100.

As Morrisons’ sales are (just about) rising, Tesco’s are once again falling (as are Asda’s and Sainsbury’s). Is Tesco’s recovery, inspired by its new chief executive Dave Lewis, hitting the buffers?

It would be premature to say so. This is just one set of numbers and Morrisons was starting from a pretty low base. Still, of the two bosses, Mr Potts arguably has the easier job. He may have inherited a mess, but rescuing Morrisons is like turning round a tugboat compared with the challenge Mr Lewis faces with the Tesco Titanic.

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