morrisons staff

After a quiet day for the grocery sector, the media’s focus is elsewhere but Morrisons’ plans to follow Lidl and Sainsbury’s suit to lift worker pay above living wage gets a look in.

The supermarket is spending £40m to raise the basic rate of 90,000 shop floor staff from £6.83 an hour to £8.20 (The Telegraph) (The Times) (The Guardian). It is higher than the £7.20 national living wage which is being introduced next year. The move comes after rival Lidl showed its hand on pay last month. However, Morrisons is putting a stop to additional pay on a Sunday.

A comment piece in The Guardian said the move by Morrisons showed the living wage need not sound death knell for retailers. The paper added that “grumbling” retailers should take note. “Last week prosperous John Lewis was grumbling that it might have to restructure staff benefits, including the annual bonus, to pay for George Osborne’s ‘national living wage’ of £7.20 an hour for over-25s from April,” Nils Pratley said. “Now, travelling in the opposite direction comes, supposedly stricken, Morrisons, which is lifting basic pay by 20% to £8.20 hour, a rate greater than the living wage as defined by campaigners.”

As reported by The Grocer, Amazon has finally taken the first steps towards offering a full grocery delivery service in the UK, with about 60 frozen and chilled lines part of the Prime one-hour delivery service in trials being run in Birmingham (The Guardian).

Consumer confidence fell from a 15-year high in September despite rising wages and zero inflation. The GfK index showed a four point dip to +3 as consumers in the UK continued to have anxiety about the state of the economy (The Times). However, that has not stopped retailers across the land reporting a buoyant month with the best business conditions since before the financial crisis erupted in 2007. Higher wages combined with low inflation to aid a surge in consumer spending, according the latest monthly digest from the CBI. Food and drink (and clothing) led the way with 41% of all retailers polled reporting above average trading for September (The Guardian).

Elsewhere in world news, Japan Tobacco has agreed to buy rights to sell the Natural American Spirit brand in all markets outside the US. The tobacco giant will pay US rival Reynolds American $5bn for the assets (The Financial Times). In Australia the chairman of the 7-Eleven convenience chain has resigned, but Russ Withers will stay on as chairman of the holding company which owns 7-Eleven and Starbucks stores in the country. It follows CEO Warren Wilmot resigning last week after revelations about 7-Eleven stores “chronically underpaying international students” (The Guardian).