After 14 years in Britain’s blue-chip index of shares, it finally looks like the jig is up for Morrisons, with The Times, Guardian and The Telegraph all covering the story. “Having decided to jettison the celebrities that have dominated its Christmas adverts, Wm Morrison was itself facing the prospect last night of being dropped from the line-up of Britain’s corporate stars. Fourteen years after breaking into the FTSE 100, the supermarket group is on the brink of sinking out of it.” (The Times)
Morrisons, which has suffered as Aldi and Lidl continue to eat up market share, will find out this evening after the market closes whether the executive committee of the London Stock Exchange has decided to drop it down to the FTSE 250. The retailer is on the brink of demotion thanks to an 11% slump in its share price over the past month, taking it close to a five-year low. The London Stock Exchange Group said Morrisons was likely to move into the FTSE 250 alongside the security group G4S and the engineering group Meggitt, making way for Provident Financial, DCC and the newly listed Worldpay. A final decision will be based on market data from Tuesday night – which put Morrisons out of the FTSE 100, The Guardian said.
Morrisons has been hovering near the bottom of the blue-chip index over the past year and narrowly avoided relegation in the June and September reshuffles. The Telegraph writes that being kicked out of the premier London index could force passive institutions, such as tracker funds, to sell around 47.62m shares.
Highlighting the pressure that Morrisons is under, figures by grocery think tank IGD showed that almost 70% of shoppers plan to visit Aldi or Lidl for cheaper Christmas groceries this year (The Telegraph).
The Financial Times follows up the British American Tobacco bribery story with news that the former employee who accused the cigarette company of bribing officials in east Africa will meet the Serious Fraud Office in the UK to submit evidence under whistleblowing legislation.
Health food business Graze has increased sales 29% to £68m in the year to 28 February, with the figure expected to rise now it has won listings in UK supermarkets (The Guardian). Tesco and Sainsbury’s have signed up the brand to thousands of stores in recent weeks and are stocking it on shelves close to tills which used to be reserved for sweets and crisps.