As the supermarket price war rages on, the biggest brands in the country are turning to online and convenience stores as a means of winning customers from rivals. However, Morrisons has now added a new dimension to the competition by announcing it will now open a percentage of its stores for longer hours in order to add greater flexibility for consumers.
The changes in opening hours will affect 230 of its 490 existing stores, which will now open from 6am to 11pm during the week. According to chief executive Dalton Philips, this means that Morrisons stores will cumulatively open for an extra 1600 hours per week and will thus prove attractive to so-called “dawn and dusk” consumers.
Mr Philips, who is currently under extreme pressure from shareholders to reverse the retailer’s recent run of poor fortune, says; “Modern family life, flexible working hours and busy schedules mean customers want to shop earlier and later.
“Therefore we need to be open for longer.
“The extension of our opening hours is one of many changes we are making to make shopping trips easier at our stores.”
Unlike the majority of its main rivals such as Tesco and Asda, Morrisons has historically failed to respond promptly to changes in consumer preferences by introducing 24 hour store openings or remaining on top of the online shopping trend.
As a recent YouGov poll found one in five consumers prefer to do their grocery shop either before 9am or after 8pm due to family or work obligations, or even simply because the stores are quieter at this point, it seems that Morrisons is finally realising the importance of staying ahead of the game and responding to the demands of its customers.
This is not the only change set to affect the grocery retailer, however, as Mr Philips has recently announced plans to axe around 2,600 jobs through an alteration in Morrisons’ management structure. He also intends to make drastic changes to a number of existing stores, including refreshing the store layout in 277 branches and refurbishing the café and toilet facilities in the majority of UK premises.
Morrisons has for some time been the member of the Big Four which has performed the most poorly. In the quarter to the 4th of May this year, like for like sales plunged by 7.1 per cent, further compounding the issue of the last financial year’s £176 million pre-tax loss.
And with Aldi and Lidl consistently growing their market share, Morrisons may soon have to acknowledge that the other members of the Big Four are no longer its only competition.
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