Morrisons aisle

The pie trolleys and olde-worlde barrows have been phased out. Now Morrisons is ditching another unique feature of its in-store offer - the dump bins and promotional tables - in a bid to make it easier for shoppers to get around.

As the retailer explores new means to take on the discounters, the latest move appears linked to its desire to offer fewer but better targeted promotions. Announcing the turnaround plan last month, Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips said the retailer would look to reduce the number of deals it offered by 10%.

As well as dump bins and side stacks, the retailer is also making the double pallet ends it uses for deals smaller.

Morrisons has started stripping out the clutter over the past couple of weeks and a spokesman said customers were already giving the move the thumbs-up.

“We believe it’s what our customers want. It will allow trolleys to get past each other, and there will be better positioning of promotional displays throughout the store,” he explained.

“Where we have tested it, the response from customers has been positive because it’s helped them browse our aisles and counters more easily.”

One trial store had attracted buses from a local home for the elderly because wheelchair users could get around better, while young mums with pushchairs also made favourable comments, he added.

As to whether the move would become permanent, he said the retailer was continuing to monitor customer feedback.

Kantar retail insights director Bryan Roberts said most retailers had some an issue with too much clutter in the aisles.

“Where perhaps Morrisons is different would be their use of wire dump bins in the aisles and a very busy and visually noisy action alley through the centre of the store, as well as standalone units for chilled and frozen special offers, often in close proximity to service counters,” he said. “It’s fair to suggest that the dump bins are surplus to requirements and that the main promotional displays could be clearer and toned down a tad.”

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black added: “Morrisons is looking to make its value proposition stronger, which will involve fewer but potentially more potent promotions. Range rationalisation is also a feature, particularly in own label. With less clutter, a cleaner and sharper offer is aspired to.”

The move has had a mixed reaction among Morrisons employees.

“Plenty of dump bins become just that; a dump,” said one poster on a staff forum. But another said: “Don’t understand why we have to do things to extremes. Before was ridiculous, not nothing. Why not just do a sensible middle.”