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Following the customer: Head of Morrisons switches to Sainsbury’s


The former head of Morrisons has built up a £6m stake in rival supermarket Sainsbury’s.

Sir Ken Morrison, the son of the founder of Morrisons, owns 2.6m shares in Sainsbury’s, which equals around £6m. His own son William owns 2.1m of his own, giving them a combined stake of £11.9m in what has proven to be the more successful chain.

Over the past year Sainsbury’s enjoyed consistent growth, the only Big Four grocer to do so. In the 12 weeks ending 6 December, Sainsbury’s increased its market share by 1.2%, reaching a total of 16.7%, while Tesco, Asda and Morrisons all saw their market shares fall.

The market shares of Britain’s four largest supermarket chains have faced pressure as discounters Aldi and Lidl grew, forcing a price war.

On Sainsbury’s, Morrison said “It is a well-run company.” 

Morrisons’ continued decline resulted in a relegation from the FTSE 100 however Sir Ken, the honorary Life President of Morrisons, has given his support to the current company management.

“It’s a big job to restore the company’s fortunate. Please be patient and allow the new management some breathing space,” he said at the annual general meeting in June.

In 2011 Sir Ken was fined £210,000 for failing to reveal to shareholders that he had sold over £400m in Morrisons shares – a breach of market rules on “disclosure and transparency”.

This doesn’t show a lack of faith in his family’s company, though it remains to be seen where Mr Morrison will be doing his Christmas shopping this year.

Published on Monday 21 December by Philip Gallagher

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