Morrisons recruits Apple marketer to lead e-commerce drive

Morrisons has appointed Apple’s former online store boss Simon Thompson as managing director for Morrisons.com for food to help it push ahead with its e-commerce launch, as the supermarket reveals growing sales and profit.

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Thompson joins the supermarket from his role as Apple’s worldwide strategy and customer experience director. Prior to that, he was general manager of Apple’s online store in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.

He will now head up a team of executives sent by Morrisons to New York to learn about online retailing from US internet grocer Fresh Direct, which it owns a 10% stake in, to inform the launch of its online food business in the UK.

The supermarket says it is “on track” to launching the fully-transactional Morrisons.com website in 2012.

Morrisons also bolstered its e-commerce offering earlier this year with the £70m acquisition of baby wear retailer Kiddicare.com, which well help build its online non-food business. The supermarket says the integration with Kiddicare.com was “proceeding well” and that special kiosks will be launched in 28 of its stores by the end of the third quarter for customers to order online and collect children’s products.

Morrisons has today (8 September) reported a 2.2% rise in like for like sales for the six months to 31 July. Turnover was up 7.4% to £8.7bn and underlying profit rose 8% to £442m in the period.

Chief executive, Dalton Philips, says Morrisons’ “Price Crunch” campaign helped to deliver the growth as consumers in the “tough economy” looked for deals and value on fresh food.

He adds: “In addition to growing sales and delivering good profit growth, we also made great strides in developing the business for the future. We have opened our first convenience store, invested further in our unique production capabilities, increased efficiency across the group, gained valuable insights from our trial stores and taken our first steps towards becoming a multichannel retailer.”

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