morrisons price crunch

I’m unaware of whether Morrisons CEO David Potts is a Morrissey fan, but right now he must be mighty pleased that every day is not like Sunday in his business.

The Grocer learned this week there is a major internal push within Morrisons at the moment to make Sundays trade as hard as the other six days of the week. The assumption being it isn’t currently as sharp in terms of getting staffing levels right, keeping shelves stocked and tills open as it is on other days.

This, Potts told The Grocer today, represented a real opportunity to increase sales.

This is yet another idea from Potts that seems like simple common sense and not particularly exciting, but is actually further evidence he is one of the country’s best retailers. Retail isn’t rocket science but it certainly is challenging, and it is Potts’ ruthless attention to detail, particularly at store level, that is the main reason why Morrisons was able to announce this morning that like-for-like sales were up 1.4% for the half year and up 2% in the second quarter, making it three consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth.

In today’s competitive climate these are impressive figures and ones that can clearly be improved upon further if Morrisons can get its Sunday trading right. Morrisons has succeeded because Potts steered the company back to its core customers, reclaiming its credentials as a value retailer after the previous regime tried to out-Waitrose Waitrose. Ironically, today Waitrose revealed like-for-likes had fallen 1% in the half-year to 30 July.

Waitrose MD Rob Collins said it would be ‘turbocharging’ investment in its existing stores to boost trading. The focus will remain on pushing its ‘hospitality’ strategy and ultra-premium Waitrose 1 range. And, of course, it makes sense that Waitrose needs to focus on its traditional customer base. But maybe Collins could do worse than look to Morrisons and in particular Potts for inspiration when it comes to getting a core supermarket estate firing again.