Surprise, surprise: Morrisons sacks 2,600 managers

The UK supermarket chain will reduce layers of management as market share falls.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 25 Jun 2014

Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket chain, has announced plans to shed 2,600 management jobs as sales continue to fall.

The losses represent 2% of its workforce which Morrisons says will create a ‘simpler management structure’ at its stores. The roles at risk include department manager and supervisor roles.

However, the Bradford-based chain will create 1,000 jobs in Morrisons M local convenience stores and 3,000 in new supermarkets, and it will ‘look to offer displaced colleagues the opportunity to work in these growing businesses’, the firm said.

Morrisons has come under increasing pressure in recent months. It posted an annual loss of £176m in the year to February and recently announced a 7.1% drop in quarterly sales. Like the other chains which make up the ‘big four’ supermarkets – Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys - Morrisons has also faced tough competition from discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl, which have steadily increased their market share.

To help stem the tide of shoppers to discounters, Morrisons also announced it is introducing a series of price cuts that will cost it £1bn over three years.

Morrisons has been slow to set up an online shopping service and has also lagged behind its rivals in focusing on convenience stores.

Earlier this month, current CEO Dalton Philips was criticised by founder Ken Morrison for the firm’s recent performance. ‘When I left work and started working as a hobby, I chose to raise cattle. I have something like 1,000 bullocks and, having listened to your presentation, Dalton, you've got a lot more bullshit than me,’ Morrison said at the supermarket’s AGM on June 5.

‘We know that moving to the new management structure will mean uncertainty for our colleagues and we will be supporting them through the process,’ Philips said in a statement.

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