Dalton Philips, the chief executive of Morrisons, says his ambitions for Kiddicare are "massive". Yesterday there was evidence he is serious as he moved four of his most senior directors to work on expanding the maternity website.
The supermarket intends to take on and beat a struggling Mothercare and a distracted Tesco to make Kiddicare the go-to place for all mums-to-be.
The four Morrisons directors moving over are Hilary Leam, Grant Henley, Simon Eastwood and Mandy Flatley. It has also hired senior external executives from Mothercare, Moda in Pelle, Autotrader and Boots as it prepares to grow.
Mr Philips said: "We have massive ambitions for Kiddicare and it's vital that we have the depth of talent in the management team to deal with a major expansion. That's why we are putting in place some of our most talented people. We're building a true multi-channel business over the next 12 months and we now have the management team to do it. The senior people joining us ensure that we are ready to develop the best shopping experience for new parents in the UK."
Some 700 jobs will be created. Morrisons will report its full-year results next week. Analysts predict operating profits of £965m.
The independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: "These management moves flesh out the already announced move by Kiddicare into store retailing, but it's obvious that they really mean business."