Shoppers in the south believe that product range and quality has improved since Morrisons took over the Safeway business last year.
This is the finding of the latest research conducted for The Grocer by Harris Interactive which contradicts the popular view of how Morrisons is perceived by shoppers in the south of England.
Morrisons has been subject to much unfavourable press suggesting its northern brand of retailing does not cater for its shoppers in the south.
Many analysts also believe that Morrisons has yet to get its store formats and range right across the country.
Ingrid Boon, retail analyst at Investec, predicted that it would be around three years before Morrisons could expect substantial profit recovery and claimed that one of the reasons was that it needed to recover brand damage in former Safeway stores. Boon recommended further adjustment to reflect ex-Safeway customer preferences.
The Harris data revealed that 22% of shoppers in the south east believed Safeway’s range had improved since being taken over compared with just 10% who felt it had got worse.
In terms of quality, 19% said that quality was now better while those who felt it had got worse were 11% of those polled.
Caroline North, Harris senior researcher, said: “The rebrand appears positive. Consumers are getting improvements in price and range.”
From today the handful of Safeways that Morrisons has not sold or converted will close, signalling the disappearance of the Safeway brand.
Non-executive director Nigel Robertson and MD Marie Melnyk have been touted as successors to the outgoing chief executive Bob Stott.
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Ronan Hegarty