Source: Morrisons

Morrisons CEO David Potts has promised to roll out its Savers budget range across its convenience store estate, after MPs criticised supermarkets for failing to stock enough value ranges.

Potts announced the move as MPs on the cross-party Business & Trade Committee grilled executives from the major retailers on what they were doing to tackle food inflation.

The committee demanded to know what supermarkets were doing to cater for lower income shoppers who relied more heavily on c-stores because of lack of transport.

Potts’ move also follows a report by consumer group Which?, that in April showed only a “tiny fraction” of budget ranges were being carried in stores across the big four.

“I was on a housing estate in Aberdeen a couple of weeks ago and I felt what you were saying,” Potts admitted.

“I believe there is plenty of own brand in c stores across Britain,” he added, saying that Morrisons had reduced prices in the 400 former McColl’s stores it had converted to Morrisons Daily by up to 10%.

But he said Morrisons, which expects to have 1,000 stores operating as Morrisons Daily by the end of the year, would now also roll out its Savers range, particularly targeting those areas with most food poverty.

He said the move would apply “especially up until food inflation normalises in this country” and “particularly in those areas where people are relying on those stores”.

As revealed by The Grocer, Morrisons’ Savers range was recently relaunched and updated with improved packaging to give it greater visibility, and Potts’ pointed to Kantar figures saying it was now the fastest growing range in the UK.

Earlier in the hearing, executives from Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s joined Potts in strongly defending the actions of supermarkets in protecting consumers from inflation.

It comes with a CMA probe into competition in the grocery sector, including accusations of alleged profiteering by the supermarkets, set to make its initial report as early as next week.