Under-pressure Morrisons boss Dalton Philips has urged his incoming chairman to give him two more years to turn the supermarket around.
His plea came as investors appeared willing to give him the benefit of the doubt: shares jumped nearly 8 per cent even though sales at branches which had been open at least a year plummeted 6.3 per cent over the past three months.
“We laid out a strategy in March and it should take three years to turn around,” said Philips. He will need to persuade new chairman Andrew Higginson, the former Tesco finance director, that price cuts and a new website can return it to growth.
Philips said the fall in sales — an improvement on the previous quarter — was mainly because the Christmas range hit stores four weeks later than last year.
Morrisons launched a loyalty scheme earlier this year, becoming the first traditional Big Four grocer to price match discounters Aldi and Lidl. Philips refused to reveal how many customers had signed up for the card, but said it had gone better than expected.
The company also narrowed its profit guidance, saying full-year pre-tax profits should hit between £335 million and £365 million. Shares rose 12.5p to 174.9p.Reuse content