Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) is looking to recruit more than 200 new suppliers across England, Scotland and Wales, the blue-chip grocer has said. The move follows a report which showed that only about half of the food eaten in the UK comes from local farmers.
Morrisons’ share price has been little changed in today’s session, having inched 0.12 percent lower to 249.10p as of 12:39 GMT. The stock is underperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed into positive territory and currently standing 0.25 percent higher at 7,295.88 points. The grocer’s shares have gained some 37 percent over the past year, and are up by just under eight percent in the year-to-date.
Morrisons announced in a statement today that it was starting a search for the best local food producers, with the aim to recruit more than 200 new suppliers from across England, Scotland and Wales in the first year. The grocer said that it was inviting foodmakers to pitch for their place in its supermarkets via a series of 12 regional events.
“Our customers tell us they want to see more food that is made just down the road from their own communities,” Morrisons’ chairman Andy Higginson commented in the statement.
The blue-chip grocer’s move comes against the background of an ongoing supermarket war which has seen German discounters snatch market share from the UK’s ‘Big Four’. Earlier this month, however, Kantar Worldpanel’s latest industry data showed that Morrisons was the fastest-growing retailer within the big four in the 12 weeks ending January 29, increasing its market share for the first time since June 2015 with a sales uplift of 1.9-percent year-on-year.
The 17 analysts offering 12-month price targets for Morrisons for the Financial Times have a median target of 207.00p, with a high estimate of 260.00p and a low estimate of 165.00p. As of February 11, the consensus forecast amongst 21 polled investment analysts covering the blue-chip grocer has it that the company will underperform the market.