Morrisons abandons 'misting' machines on its fruit and veg counters

Store managers have been told the machines have to go in the coming weeks

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The Independent Online

For Morrisons’ recently ousted chief executive Dalton Philips, they were a sign that the Northern grocer had arrived. For some investors, they suggested he’d lost the plot.

Now, the in-store misting machines he installed in around 300 branches of the 500-strong chain to give Morrisons’ fruit and veg a spray of moist freshness are following him out of the door.

Store managers have been told the machines have to go in the coming weeks, The Independent has learned.

The decision ends the so-called “war of fog” between Dalton-era fans and critics of the machines.

New chairman Andy Higginson is attempting to bring stability and focus back to the company. He has said the big retailers such as Morrisons made a fatal error in putting up prices to boost returns to shareholders just as shoppers were feeling the squeeze. This drove the public into the arms of Lidl and Aldi.

Some store workers have suggested the misting machines exacerbated this effect with shoppers: giving them the impression that Morrisons had become too upmarket for them and that they would be better off at the discounters.

In fairness, Mr Philips did implement bold price-cutting last year, joined by his rivals.