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Morrisons online plans revealed following profitable year

11 March 2011 - 09:44 by Sarah Collinson

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The gradual creation of an online shopping outlet for Morrisons took a step forward this week, when the firm announced record profits for the past 12 months, as well as a new investment in a US e-commerce firm.

Over the last year, Morrisons made £874 million in profit before tax and saw turnover increase by seven percent.

The supermarket is the fourth largest in the UK and recently acquired internet retailer Kiddicare for £70 million, in its push to compete with rivals like Tesco and Sainsbury's, by offering customers the chance to carry out safe shopping online, as well as heading to their local store.

Now Morrisons has bought another e-commerce firm, this time from the US. FreshDirect is a huge success in delivering groceries in New York and now its expertise is being added to Morrisons, to help enhance its ability to offer online shopping to customers in the UK.

Morrisons has said that it will be able to provide an outlet for safe shopping online within the next two years. It has also confirmed that it will be targeting the smaller scale shopping market by opening convenience stores around the country, providing its first test outlet is a success.

Despite the relatively positive outlook for the firm, with e-commerce expansion sure to be beneficial, its chief executive, Dalton Philips, spoke of a cautious year ahead. Citing rising taxes and government spending cuts, Mr Dalton said that consumers would be struggling to spend as much on their weekly shops, while cutting back on non essential items.

Mr Dalton did seem confident that Morrisons would be able to weather the storm thanks to its online initiatives, but, like all retailers which have links to bricks and mortar outlets, it will definitely feel the squeeze.