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September 8, 2011

UK: Apple executive joins Morrisons online drive

Morrisons has appointed a former Apple executive to lead its move into online food retail.

By Dean Best

Morrisons has appointed a former Apple executive to lead its move into online food retail.

The retailer, the only one of the UK’s four largest grocers not to sell food online, said today (8 September) that Simon Thompson had been appointed MD of its upcoming food offer on morrisons.com.

Thompson was previously general manager of Apple’s online store for the EMEA region and India. Prior to joining Apple, he was MD of lastminute.com’s European operations.

The appointment comes as Morrisons looks to launch an online service. A potential move online was first mooted last year and the retailer is looking to start selling non-food products online next year.

Morrisons has yet to put a date on when it will start selling food online but in March the company acquired around 10% of US online grocer FreshDirect. The investment was designed to allow the retailer to evaluate how it could develop its own online service. It said today that Thompson will lead a team of executives in New York that is working with FreshDirect’s management.

The appointment was announced alongside Morrisons’ half-year results. The retailer reported 9% rise in pre-tax profits to GBP449m for the six months to the end of July. Underlying profit, which excludes proceeds from property disposals and pension interest, was up 8% at GBP442m (US$715.8m).

Turnover climbed 7.4% to GBP8.7bn, with like-for-like sales excluding fuel up 2.2%. In the first quarter of the year, a period that included the Royal Wedding and an extra public holiday, Morrisons like-for-likes increased by 2.5%.

Click here for the full announcement from Morrisons. Click here for views from City analysts and click here for coverage of the retailer’s press conference today.

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