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Morrisons scales back on expansion


Morrisons has left a number of property developers disgruntled after pulling out of several large scale development projects. 

Britain’s fourth largest supermarket is currently facing legal proceedings with several developers, which could lead to multi-million pound layouts. 

Property developer Wessex Investors took over a site in Launceston, east Cornwall, on behalf of Morrisons, but has now found the supermarket trying to back out of its commitments. 

Tim Jones, who runs Wessex’s Plymouth office, said: “We obtained the site for Morrisons and they were granted planning consent for a 53,000 sq ft superstore. But we have run into a brick wall as they have tried to wriggle out of the commitments, meaning this development and the 300 jobs it would have created have all been put on hold.” 

It has been a year of belt tightening for Morrisons. This year alone 10 stores have been closed, and earlier this month it sold 140 of its M Local convenience stores in a 25m deal. The very next day the grocer announced the closure of another 11 supermarkets, putting 900 jobs at risk 

According to CEO David Potts, Morrisons is cutting back on the expansion of its supermarkets in order to improve its core supermarket estate. The big four member has failed to engage customers with convenience store and online shopping, as many of its rivals have done. According to Kantar statistics for the 12 weeks ending on the 13th September 2015, Morrisons’ sales decreased by 1.4%; a figure likely to worsen as store closures continue. 

Published on Monday 28 September by Philip Gallagher

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