Sir Ken Morrison, chairman of Morrisons, is to retire in January 2008.

Sir Ken, who has been chairman of Morrisons since 1956, will confirm his departure to shareholders at the supermarket group's annual general meeting later today.

In a statement released ahead of the agm, Sir Ken said: “I have today informed the board of my current intention to retire as chairman and a director of Morrisons by the end of the financial year in January 2008.”

He added: “The board has invited me to become a life president following my retirement.”

However, the retailer has missed its own deadline of announcing a successor to outgoing CEO Bob Stott.

Morrisons had said that it would announce a replacement for Stott at its agm, however, Sir Ken will instead tell shareholders that the search is approaching the final stage and a firm announcement will be made within the next two to three weeks.”

Meanwhile, Morrisons will also reveal at the agm that like-for-like sales for the 16 weeks to May 21 rose 3.7% excluding petrol.