Morrisons plans online home delivery service after profits fall
Supermarket giant follows Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda onto the web after first profit drop in six years
BRITAIN'S fourth largest supermarket chain, Morrisons, is to launch an online home delivery service in 2014 in an attempt to turn around its fledgling fortunes.
The chain today revealed its first profit drop in six years following a disappointing performance over the Christmas period, Sky News reports. The company confirmed a seven per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £879m in the year to February 3, with like-for-like sales down 2.1 per cent.
Unlike rivals Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda, Morrisons has not previously offered an online shopping service. But speaking today, the firm's chief executive Dalton Philips told the BBC the company was looking into a possible deal with web supermarket Ocado.
Philips acknowledged the supermarket giant had faced a "difficult year" and pledged the company would remain "distinctively Morrisons" as it branched out in 2014. "It's a relatively new channel [online shopping] and when we go into it we want to go into it in a distinctive way", he said.
The Daily Telegraph notes the supermarket has no choice but to adapt to the changing market, saying: "Online food sales are growing fast – Waitrose reported a 49 per cent rise in internet sales for last year – and Morrisons's like-for-like sales are falling."
Aside from the "important step" of launching online, a sector of the food market that is growing at around 20 per cent year-on-year, the Bradford-based chain also plans to expand its ‘M Local' convenience stores.
Last month Morrisons bought seven stores from administrators of the collapsed camera retailer Jessops for an undisclosed fee and today the company announced they would open 100 stores over the coming months as part of attempts to boost its fortunes. ·