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Have Morrisons missed the boat for trading online?

By Fiona Ness on Tue 18 March 2014 in Topical

Morrisons hit the headlines for a couple of reasons at the end of last week. But their reported loss of £176 million was perhaps the BIG news as we are about to see some rather interesting changes in competition amongst the big supermarket retailers!

Morrisons are not the only big retailer that has seen a decrease in profit recently, but their story has been at the forefront of the news as they put this loss down to the lack of an online presence. Competing against the likes of Tesco and Asda without an online shop has clearly had a significant impact on their share of the market and their attempt to enter at such a late stage hasn’t given the boost they needed.

Morrisons only began their online deliveries in January this year, partnering with Ocado. So far the partnership seems successful, but it does still come almost 14 years after Tesco.com was launched.

They are clearly late to the online game and have been forced to accept that this makes it almost impossible to compete in the ‘big four’ retail market. It’s therefore not surprising that alongside their loss in profit Morrisons announced a price war. Their focus has always been on freshness, but claiming there is a new price norm, they are repositioning themselves to address the widening gap between the big four and discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

When asked if he thought Morrisons had missed the boat when it comes to trading online, CEO Dalton Philips, said that if you’re going to be late coming out with something the trick is to make it great.

Only time will tell whether their online partnership and repositioning will work, but we can’t help but wonder if Morrisons wish they’d made the move to trading online sooner.