Morrisons chief executive to leave after poor Christmas sales

<p>Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips has left the company following poor Christmas sales.</p>

Morrisons has announced the departure of its chief executive after the supermarket reported poor Christmas sales.

The UK's fourth-largest supermarket stated that Dalton Philips will leave his position by the publication of the next financial results in March after taking up the chief executive role in 2010. It comes after Morrisons posted disappointing Christmas figures with like-for-like sales dropping by 3.1 per cent in the six weeks to January 4th. It represented the worst performance of all the major supermarket groups.

Supermarkets across the UK have been put under increased pressure in recent months by the rise of discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. The pair have performed strongly over the past year with both gaining a better market share and also recording increases in sales. This has ramped up competition for some of the more traditional supermarkets.

Last week both Tesco and Sainsbury's reported a drop in sales over the Christmas period. Tesco stated that like-for-like sales had fallen by 2.9 per cent in three months to the beginning of January, combined with a 0.3 per cent decline during the six weeks during Christmas.

Sainsbury's also struggled with a 0.4 per cent fall in sales in the 14 weeks to January 3rd and the supermarket warned that it faced a "challenging" year to come. Like Tesco, Morrisons is also planning to close ten loss-making stores in 2015.

Sir Andrew Higginson, who will become Morrisons chairman on January 22nd, praised the work of the outgoing Mr Philips and described the move as representing the "next chapter of Morrisons development".

Mr Philips himself said: "Morrisons is a great company with exceptionally talented people and I have been very proud to have worked with them. Over the last five years, we have made many improvements to the business and given Morrisons strong foundations for the future.”

Find up to date information on the FTSE 100 and spread betting strategies at City Index.

Build your confidence risk free
Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

StoneX Financial Ltd (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.