Morrisons share price declines as digital chief quits

on Apr 9, 2014
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Listen, Wednesday, April 9: Beleaguered supermarket chain Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) has suffered another blow with the departure of the group’s head of digital development.

Retail Week reported today that Simon Harrow is poised to leave the grocer. Morrisons confirmed the departure, but declined to comment further.
Simon Harrow joined the Bradford-based retailer when it bought baby equipment retailer Kiddicare in 2011. He rose through the ranks to become chief operating officer at the chain and is currently also head of digital development at Morrisons.

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However, last month, group CEO Dalton Philips said the retailer planned to sell Kiddicare and took a writedown on the value of the company, which he described as a “business whose performance has been disappointing and which is no longer strategic”.
Morrisons has come under fire for implementing a controversial strategy at Kiddicare, which included store openings. The bricks and mortar expansion was considered as one of the main reasons the business performance floundered.

Morrisons has hired Rothschild to handle the sale process and is now focusing its online grocery strategy through a partnership with Ocado (LON:OCDO), which is running its internet service.
Harrow’s exit follows the high-profile resignation of George Dymond, who was recruited to run the retailer’s online grocery service, in January (Morrisons share price: Head of online business resigns). Dymond left the business just weeks after his appointment and was later appointed as operations development director at rival Tesco (LON:TSCO).

Morrisons has been slow to respond to changing consumer patterns, particularly in relation to digital and convenience shopping. The retailer has also suffered in recent years as it became squeezed by the rise of discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl.
According to figures released yesterday by market researcher Kantar Worldpanel, Morrisons’ sales fell 3.8 percent in the 12 weeks to March 30, leaving its market share at 11.1 percent, from 11.6 percent a year ago (Morrisons share price falls on industry data).

The retailer issued its second profit warning last month, as it reported pre-tax losses of £176 million for the year to February 2, against pre-tax profits of £879 million the year before (Morrisons share price: Company swings to £176 million annual loss).
**Morrisons share price falls**
Morrisons’ share price has been trading in negative territory today, and stood 0.64 percent lower at 201.70p as of 14:24 BST.
According to AnalystRatingsNetwork data, 13 research analysts have a ‘sell’ rating on the FTSE 100-listed supermarket group, nine have it as a ‘hold’ and three rate it as a ‘buy’. The stock’s consensus rating is ‘hold’ with an average price target of 228.68p.
**As of 14:10 BST, buy Morrisons shares at 201.60p.**
**As of 14:10 BST, sell Morrisons shares at 201.50p.**


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