The City roundup video: Morrisons loses patience with Dalton Philips

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The day has finally arrived when Morrisons lost patience with Dalton Philips and has shown the affable Irishman the door.

His five-year tenure at top of the supermarket was initially defined by a wave of rising sales before three years of sales slumps as the growth of Aldi and Lidl began to bite.

Incoming chairman Andy Higginson took the axe to Philips and, with his pedigree in the grocery trade as former Tesco finance chief, he’ll look to appoint a heavyweight successor.

Ladbrokes, always keen for cheeky PR, has named Morrisons’ marketers Ant & Dec 1000/1 shots for the top job. More realistically Mark Harrison, a Morrisons lifer and current manufacturing director, is odds on at 3/1 while Aldi boss Matthew Barnes could earn his first FTSE100 job after jointly leading the German discounters’ growth.

Philips’ replacement’s first task will be to get same store sales moving in the right direction. They fell again over Christmas, by 3.1%, as Morrisons piled sales fall on top of sales fall in the year on year number.

Elsewhere, the price of oil continues to slump on the supply glut as Brent crude tumbled to a six-year low of $45.23 a barrel and Eurotunnel today spent  €40 million buying three new freight trains, with the cross-Channel rail business citing the growing British economy as its reason for investment.