Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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

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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.