Morrisons group commercial director Richard Hodgson has described its new Price Crunch promotion as "a step change" from the traditional January price cuts favoured by rivals.

Speaking exclusively to The Grocer, Hodgson, who joined from Waitrose in October, said the cuts would help its shoppers cope with the challenging economic climate and the impact of the VAT rise.

"It would be very easy to take 1p off lots of random lines and claim you have made thousands of cuts," he said. "We have looked closely at what shoppers are buying every time they come in and are offering genuine savings, often better than half-price, on the products they really want."

Price Crunch offered a saving of £39.27 on a typical shop of 44 items, he said, more than compensating for the rise in VAT, which he said would cost the average family £10 extra a week.

Meanwhile, Morrisons has appointed Belinda Youngs, from Canadian retailer Sobeys, to the new role of own-brand director. Boots brands director Nick Collard becomes commercial director, ambient and frozen, Gordon Mowat becomes strategy director and Richard Lancaster replaces Angus Maciver as marketing director.