Five of Dalton Philips’ big ideas axed by Morrisons’ new boss

Dalton Philips, the former CEO of MorrisonsDalton Philips, the former CEO of Morrisons
Dalton Philips, the former CEO of Morrisons
Dalton Philips was ousted as Morrisons’ chief executive in January, after the company suffered from sliding profits and sales.

Most of Mr Philips’ innovations have been axed by the new management team. Here are five key strategic changes that have been implemented in recent months.

ONE: In February, Morrisons revealed it was ditching its controversial misting machines, the ultimate symbol of Mr Philips’ attempts to broaden the supermarket’s appeal to a more upmarket audience.

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The Bradford-based grocer introduced the machines to keep produce fresh and create a sense of theatre, with shoppers flocking to photo the misty fruit and vegetables on their mobile phones.

But they were seen as a sign of decadence by former management who claimed they were part of Mr Philips’ attempts to take the stores upmarket, a charge he has always denied.

TWO: The following month, Morrisons ditched its infrared queue management system, determining how many checkouts it should keep open.

Morrisons stopped using the Intelligent Queue Management (iQM) system in its stores, which had been introduced by Mr Philips. The system was used to determine how many checkouts to keep open at the Bradford-based retailer’s supermarkets, using infrared sensors that showed how many customers were flowing through the store. Now checkout teams use their eye and experience to meet their customers’ needs.

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THREE: In April, Morrisons revealed that it was cutting nearly a third of its head office jobs in the latest cull under new boss David Potts.

At the same time the group said it was looking to recruit an extra 5,000 staff in stores as part of a plan to put more staff on the shop floor and have fewer people working in head office functions.

FOUR: In September, a management team led by the retail entrepreneur Mike Greene and backed by the family investment office Greybull Capital LLP reached agreement with Morrisons to acquire its convenience store chain M Local.

The new team said it planned to develop the chain as an independent and profitable business, rebranded under the name ‘My Local’, with a renewed commitment to the communities and customers it serves.

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FIVE: This month, Morrisons also confirmed it was revamping its loyalty scheme a year after its launch.

Mr Philips unveiled the Match and More scheme last October to “price-match” discount rivals as part of a strategy to win more customers. It was hailed as the first of its kind to provide a price match guarantee against Aldi and Lidl as well as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. New CEO Mr Potts is carrying out a widescale review of the Bradford-based group and has decided to simplify the scheme.

Now it will offer five points for every pound spent in store.

A spokesman for Morrisons told The Yorkshire Post: “We have listened carefully to customers and we believe that they will prefer this simpler loyalty scheme.

“The changes mean that every pound counts towards earning points, which is much clearer for our customers.”