Morrisons boss says marketing changes are paying off

Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips has claimed that efforts to reset its marketing approach are paying dividends and customers have responding positively to new promotional and advertising activity.


The supermarket made sharpening its promotional activity and improving its marcomms to better communicate its points of differentiation a strategic priority in November after several quarters of declining sales and lost market share.

Presenting the supermarket’s annual results to journalists today (14 March), Philips claimed attempts to make its promotional activity “bolder” and “more distinct” through initiatives that take it beyond base price cuts, such as “payday bonus” – targeted offers ahead of payday – have resulted in Morrisons “hitting its promotional stride again”.

The horsemeat scandal, he added, means the supermarket’s fresh food, UK-sourced positioning is resonating more strongly with customers.

“Customers care about where food comes from now, the provenance and quality of the food. They are angry with retailers that have let them down…..People are not angry with Morrisons. They are writing to us to ask to talk more about farms and the supply chain”.

The supermarket rebalanced marketing spend in February, Philips says, to press activity that talked more about provenance.

Perception of the Morrisons has improved markedly in the wake of the horsemeat crisis. According to YouGov’s BrandIndex rankings, the supermarket’s Buzz score – the net balance of positive or negative things people have heard about the brand – was 10.12 yesterday (13 February), up from 6.94 a month earlier. In contrast, big four rivals Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s all dropped over the same period.

The supermarket will be hoping improved brand perception will lead to increased sales. Sales in the 12 months to 3 February dropped 2.1 per cent in stores open for a year or more.

The supermarket has confirmed it intends to launch an online grocery offering by 2014 and is talking to Ocado about a partnership. Philips refused to provide any further information on the service but insisted it would go ahead with or without Ocado and that it would be a “Morrisons offer” and “distinctive” from rivals.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here