Top story

Former Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips was given a total pay package of £2.1m last year, which included a £1m annual bonus, despite the supermarket’s performance taking a nosedive with profits plunging, sales falling and market share slipping.

The grocer’s annual report revealed the sacked boss could also pocket another £2m in severance pay, including salary, benefits and pension payments for up to 12 months after his exit and share payments. It would take his final pay packet for his final 12 months to more than £4m.

Philips, who parted ways with Morrisons three months ago, was awarded a £1m annual bonus in cash on top of his £850,000 salary, more than £200k in pension payments and £28k in benefits.

His replacement, David Potts, could earn more than £5m if he can hit certain performance targets, with double his £850k salary available in an annual bonus. And Potts could also bag another £2.6m as part of a long-term shares incentive scheme.

Morning update

Overall food sales and underlying trading profit slipped last year at the East of England Co-op amid “tough” trading conditions. Food store revenues dropped by 1.3% in 2014/2015, driven by a change in shopping habits and decreasing sales at the retailer’s larger stores, and underlying trading profit was down from £5.4m to £4.8m. However, total sales at the co-op were up for the second year in a row to £342.1m and pre-tax profit increased by £200k to £6.9m. “This year we have continued to face a highly challenging marketplace, especially across our food businesses with the change in shopping habits of our consumers and increased competition from the discount stores,” said Doug Field, executive officer for finance and technology. “Against such a backdrop it is an even more significant achievement that we have increased our overall turnover and profits before tax and distributions again this year.”

Farmer-owned chocolate company Divine has merged its UK and US businesses. Kuapa Kokoo, the farmers’ co-operative in Ghana which voted to set up a chocolate business back in 1997, will own 44% of the merged company. Divine Chocolate MD Sophi Tranchell will take up the role of CEO. “The new structure strengthens the group, making us more resilient and giving us a wider consumer reach, and in doing so gives Divine more power to deliver our mission to fairly and sustainably remunerate smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa, as well as empowering them to take their future into their own hands,” she said.

Yesterday in the City

The three listed grocers carried on last week’s theme of falling values by all closing lower than Friday’s price. Tesco (TSCO), which was the chief cause of the decline in grocery shares following its monumental losses, led the way again to finish Monday 1.8% down to 220.8p. It was the second biggest faller of the day on the FTSE 100. The supermarket’s stock is now 7.8% below where it was a month ago and has lost almost 20p since last week’s results.

Sainsbury’s (SBRY) and Morrisons (MRW) also finished 1% down to 265.3p and 0.7% down to 192.7p respectively.

Other fallers included Majestic Wine (MJW), which slipped 1.1% to 379.7p. The wine merchant has seen big gains in its market value thanks to its deal with Naked Wines. Its shares are 23% higher than a month ago.

Poundland (PLND), which marks 25 years in business this week, lost more ground yesterday. Shares closed 0.8% down at 321p. The discount retailer has suffered as the CMA scrutinising its hoped takeover of rival 99p Stores. Poundland was trading at close to 390p at the end of March.

At the opposite end of the stock exchange, Thorntons (THT) was the biggest grocery riser, ending the day 6.1% up at 83p. Online grocer Ocado (OCDO) joined the chocolatier to close 3.3% higher at 353.6p. Tate & Lyle (TATE) also stopped the rot from last week when shares plunged on the back of restructuring news. The sugar group ended Monday 2.2% up at 618.5p.

The FTSE 100 once again rose to record highs thanks to HSBC and reports that the bank might spin off its UK retail operations. London’s leading shares sat at 7,104 points after climbing 0.7%.