Morrisons has said it will cut the average price of its fresh produce by 17 per cent as part of wider price cutting moves which the retailer hopes will shore up its market position.
1,045 products, including meat and toiletries, have been reduced in price in the third round of price cuts by the retailer this year. Morrisons called them its ‘biggest ever price crunch.’ Fresh produce prices will be cut by 17 per cent on average and up to 56 per cent on some fruit and vegetable products.
Andy Atkinson, Morrisons’ customer and marketing director, said, “We are constantly listening to our customers and know they are concerned about whether food prices will go up following the Brexit vote, especially on imports. We are British farming’s biggest supermarket customer, which means we can better control our prices, and this latest round of crunches demonstrates our commitment to offering the best possible value to our customers this summer.”
However, newspapers reported that investors sold shares in the retailer after the announcement, with the share price falling 2 per cent to 182.05 pence on Monday afternoon.
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Supermarket Morrisons has apologised to its suppliers after it was found to have indirectly required suppliers to pay lump sum payments in breach of the Grocery Suppliers Code of Practice (GCSoP).
In a clarification to the Code issued on 20 June 2016, The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) said that following evidence supplied in June and July 2015 there was evidence that there may have been a code breach and that it wrote to ‘Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc Chief Executive Officer alerting him to the issue. As a result, Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc immediately launched an extensive internal investigation, including reviewing 66,000 emails, interviewing employees and taking disciplinary action where appropriate. Further training for staff on negotiation techniques permitted by the Code was immediately put in place, with particular focus on variation to existing Supply Agreements.’
Morrison’s chief executive David Potts said the retailer has “completely changed the way it works with suppliers.
“These events happened a year ago and since then much has been achieved to ensure they don’t happen again. However, we are sorry they happened in the first place,” he added. “I have brought in a new management team who have modernised and simplified all of our buying practices. We have also reorganised and retrained our buying team.”
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Television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall used parsnips as an example of the waste in the food industry in the first of his two Hugh’s War on Waste programmes which was shown on BBC One on Monday 2 November.
He visited the Hammond family at Tattersett Farm in Norfolk where he saw 20 tons of parsnips a week wasted as they did not meet Morrisons’ specifications. Olly Hammond, who runs the family business with his mother Debbie, told the programme, “If we sent in these parsnips they would be rejected and returned the next day.”
Although the Hammonds were initially happy to appear on camera, they later withdrew from a follow-up piece, allegedly due to pressure from the supermarket, which also refused to discuss the issue on camera during the first episode. In a statement the company said it had previously tried to sell wonky parsnips but customers had not bought them.
The second episode of Hugh’s War on Waste will be screened on BBC One at 9 pm on Monday 9 November.
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According to reports, Morrisons has said that it will extend its English apple season by up to two months, selling fruit into May next year.
According to the retailer, the move has been driven by customer demand and forecasts of a good English apple crop this year. It is working with growers and suppliers to increase the length of storage of key varieties including Braeburn, Cox, Bramley, Royal Gala and Egremont Russet. Morrisons has also said it hopes to increase sales by up to ten per cent this year and that it will stock a total of 25 different English varieties.
Morrisons produce director Drew Kirk said, “British shoppers want to buy British. So, we’ve worked with our growers to extend the season. This move will reduce our dependency on imports, give British growers a bigger market and secure the future of the British apple crop.”
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