UK: Hodgson to leave as Morrisons Q3 sales slide
- Commercial director Hodgson to exit business
- Morrisons Q3 sales dip 0.4%
- Like-for-like sales fall 2.1%
Morrisons sales slide
Morrisons today (8 November) announced commercial director Richard Hodgson will leave the UK retailer - on the day it reported another quarter of falling like-for-like sales.
Third-quarter sales came in lower than expected as the UK supermarket upped its levels of promotional activity in the face of "fragile" consumer confidence.
In the 13-weeks to 28 October, Morrisons said total sales, excluding fuel, slipped 0.4%. Like-for-like sales at stores open more than one year fell even further, dropping 2.1% excluding fuel.
"With consumer confidence still fragile and high levels of promotional activity a persistent feature of the market, the trading environment has remained challenging through the period and sales were lower than anticipated," the company said.
Nevertheless, management insisted the group has made "good progress" on its strategic initiatives, such as the roll out of its fresh format, the relaunch of its own brand offering and the implementation of a new IT infrastructure.
Shares in Morrisons were down at 0.78% at 265.4p at 10:33 GMT.
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC
Richard Hodgson, Commercial Director, who joined Morrisons in 2010, is leaving the day-to-day business.
Martyn Jones, Corporate Services Director, has been appointed interim Commercial Director pending the recruitment of a successor for Richard. Martyn has held senior and Board appointments in a 22 year career with Morrisons, including 4 years leading the Trading function.
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC
Q3 Interim Management Statement - 13 weeks to 28 October 2012
With consumer confidence still fragile and high levels of promotional activity a persistent feature of the market, the trading environment has remained challenging through the period and sales were lower than anticipated. In the quarter to 28 October 2012, total sales* excluding fuel were down by 0.4% (up 0.2% including fuel) and like for like sales* were down 2.1% (down 1.3% including fuel).
The business is making good progress in delivering the strategic initiatives which will provide a solid foundation for our future growth. During the period we have introduced our market leading Fresh Format into a further 35 stores and are on track to meet our target of extending this to 100 stores by the end of this fiscal year. We remain pleased with their progress both in terms of sales performance and customer feedback. Our Own Brand relaunch which will extend to 10,000 products is progressing well and we have made significant progress in the delivery of Evolve, our IT infrastructure project, with the introduction of the crucial supply chain management system. We have also launched Morrisons Cellar, our online wine operation.
Whilst we are encouraged by the progress of these strategic initiatives we recognise the ongoing importance of improving our performance, particularly in the communication of Morrisons key points of difference to our customers and in improving the effectiveness of our promotional activity. We have put in place a number of measures to enable us to achieve this.
We are well advanced on our programme to retire £1bn of equity over the two years to March 2013. To date we have acquired 299m shares at a total investment of £852m. The financial position of the Group remains strong.
We expect the market to remain challenging for the remainder of the year. However we continue to manage the business tightly and anticipate that our full year financial performance will be broadly in line with our expectations.
Original source: Morrisons
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