Morrisons has held motivational away days for more than 500 fresh produce managers as it looks to ensure its staff and Market Street proposition are “fit for tomorrow”.

Under new initiative Making Produce Shine, the retailer - which this week announced it would be axing 2,600 in-store management jobs - has held training sessions for more than 1,500 managers over recent months.

A third of the attendees were fresh produce managers, said category director for fresh produce and strategy Andrew Garton, who described fresh produce as “the shop window of our stores”.

Delegates were told greengrocers “should be visible, and know what they were selling,” said Garton.

“We believe our set-up is as good as the rest [of the retailers] on produce. We have staff with fantastic experience and years of service. These are people who are fit for today, but these sessions were also about getting them fit for tomorrow.”

The initiative was designed to build on a £20m investment in new in-store refrigeration and quality of produce “to deliver a better customer experience”, said Garton. Staff were also coached in how to best execute price promotions.

Citing the chain’s fresh produce heritage, Garton said: “We wanted to make it simpler for stores to demonstrate the quality, value and service we can offer customers, and improve departmental standards.”

The sessions had delivered a “fantastic level of feedback and engagement” from staff, he said. When asked if they would be repeated regularly, he replied: “Watch this space.”

Sir Ken was scathing of the current management at the agm earlier this month, calling a 7.1% drop in sales in May “disastrous” and questioning the board’s ability to lead the company back to growth.