Morrisons butchers

Butchers will spend more time serving customers

Morrisons has insisted it remains firmly behind its Market Street proposition despite moves to significantly increase the amount of pre-packed meat it sells.

Market Street is Morrisons’ key differentiator from its rivals and it has become a mantra for senior management that “we have more butchers, bakers and fishmongers than anyone else.”

From now on, butchers will be doing less actual butchery in store, however, as Morrisons hopes they can spend more time serving customers.

Customers will still be able to ask for steaks cut to order, but the majority of steaks will be sold in pre-packed skin packs, first used when Morrisons started selling groceries online in January.

As well as saving money by processing products more efficiently, in some cases - such as steaks - pre-packing would add shelf life, a spokesman said.

The Grocer understands other changes will include mince and burgers now being sold pre-packed only. Members of a Morrisons online employee forum speculated as much as 90% of all meat would now be pre-packed, but the spokesman insisted it was “nowhere near” that, although he declined to give an alternative figure.

“We said at the beginning of the year that we would leverage our vertical integration and take some of the tasks from Market Street into our manufacturing business, which would leave our butchers more time to serve customers, using their skills where they can add real value.”

The shift to pre-packed follows a similar move on fish earlier in the year when the bulk of preparation of salmon, cod and haddock was moved to a facility in Grimsby. The spokesman said this move had proved popular with fishmongers and customers, and had helped grow the category.

While the spokesman said the move would sharpen the Market Street format, staff on the employee forum were split over whether it was positive or risked Morrisons’ USP.

“The fact is Morrisons is trying to be different to the rest,” said one. “Market Street is all Morrisons has going for it.”

But another argued: “It’s no good being different if you’re not relevant. Customers can go to Aldi, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Co-op and have a steak with a longer shelf life due to the new skin packaging for a lower price.”

Morrisons unlocks easier life for shoppers

As part of its latest initiative to make the shopping journey easier, Morrisons is removing over 150,000 trolley locks across the country.

It said locks would be removed from most of its fleet in the next two weeks. The locks will go from 279 stores but will be kept in city centre stores where there is a high chance trolleys will be taken, and in stores on hills.

In a survey of customers, Morrisons found 43% of shoppers said locks were inconvenient and 27% said they did not always have change. “We have less free time than previous generations and customers have told us they want a quicker shop,” said CEO Dalton Philips.

Morrisons said other measures to make life easier for shoppers included the redesign of over 277 stores, refurbs of in-store cafés, the building of new petrol stations, upgrades to baby change and toilet facilities, the extension of store opening hours and the updating of car park controls.