Morrisons has appointed Sainsbury’s marketer Rachel Eyre as chief customer and marketing officer as it looks to develop “the next generation of retail talent”.
Eyre takes over from Andy Atkinson, who was promoted from group marketing and customer director to group commercial director in February. Reporting into chief executive David Potts, she will join the supermarket chain in 2021 and sit on the executive committee, helping the wider leadership team “respond to Morrisons customers”.
As chief customer and marketing officer, Eyre’s role will encompass customer insight and marketing communications, including advertising, in-store and targeted marketing. She will also oversee the local solutions, customer services and PR teams.
Eyre is currently serving as group head of brand communications and creative across the Sainsbury’s, Argos, Tu and Habitat brands, the latest role in a five-year career at the supermarket. Prior to her current role, Eyre launched Future Brands, Sainsbury’s incubator programme sourcing, creating and onboarding distinctive challenger brands, which has delivered over £200m in incremental and margin-accretive sales since it was launched in 2018.
Speaking to Marketing Week last year, Eyre described how she set up the Future Brands team to chase “entrepreneurial heat” and onboard a variety of exciting challenger brands, with the intention of supercharging Sainsbury’s “distinctive agenda”.
Her career kicked off at Barclays in the wake of a global financial crisis, spanning various roles including vice president of brand expression and chief of staff for brand, reputation, citizenship and marketing.
“Rachel’s appointment is important for Morrisons as we continue to listen carefully to our customers and further improve the shopping trip,” says Potts.
“Rachel has an outstanding record and I am really pleased to be welcoming her into the business. Her appointment represents another step in our plan to develop the next generation of retail talent at Morrisons.”
This is an important time for Morrisons as it attempts to become a “broader, stronger business” after having capitalised on a lockdown boom that saw like-for-like sales rise by 8.7% year on year during the 26 weeks to 2 August.
With online delivery capacity up fivefold, the launch of a food box business and the introduction of a Deliveroo ‘dark kitchen’ at its new-look Manchester Piccadilly store, Morrisons is hoping to maintain this level of innovation in the run-up to Christmas and into 2021.
The supermarket is also putting the focus on in-store customer experience, which it sees as a key differentiator, having cut 3,000 managerial roles and added 7,000 customer-facing positions.
Data suggests its approach is paying off, as the retailer continues to outperform its ‘big four’ rivals. In the 12 weeks to 6 September, Morrisons’ sales rose by 12.9% and its market share increased by 0.2 percentage points to 10.1%, according to Kantar data. By comparison, Tesco grew sales by 10.5%, Sainsbury’s by 8% and Asda by 6.3% during the same period.