Morrisons launches Christmas ad as sales decline worsens

Morrisons is hoping a Christmas advertising campaign calling on customers to treat themselves during the festive season will help revive its flagging performance after sales worsened in its latest quarter.

The supermarket chain says sales from stores open for 12 months or more fell 2.4 per cent in the three months to 3 November, its third quarter. Sales had fallen by 1.6 per cent in its first-half. 

Shaky consumer confidence, heavy discounting across the sector and continued absence from the fast growing online grocery market were blamed for the sales dip.

The supermarket will launch a limited online shop and delivery service in January 2014, the company says, with a rollout to half of the UK expected by the end of the year. “We are however progressing well with our plans to develop a significant presence in these channels. With a clear, online fresh food proposition now in place, the ranging and marketing plan has been finalised and the technology platform and integration are nearing completion,” it adds.

Despite the sales dip chief executive Dalton Philips says he is confident its claimed points of difference – a focus on fresh food and in-store fresh format as well as ”meaningful” promotions over base price cuts  – will pay dividends. He adds festive promotional initiative ‘Big Christmas Bonus’ , which offers customers up to £40 off their Christmas shop if they spend £40 in store for nine of the next 10 weeks, has been well received.

Morrisons launches its Christmas ad campaign tomorrow (8 November) with the strapline “Go on its Christmas”. It features Ant & Dec and focuses on how the supermarket offers award-winning products at “affordable” prices.

The full-length ad is set to the tune of the Disney track “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, with rewritten lyrics. Created by DLKW Lowe, it will debut during ITV’s Coronation Street and will be supported by shorter spots that highlight individual products such as Morrison’s chocolate chip Panettone.

Belinda Youngs, Morrisons’ corporate brand marketing director, says: “Our Christmas advertising is all about celebrating great tasting food and great prices offering the very best value for money at Christmas.”

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