U.K. Grocer Morrison Cuts Prices To Counter Brexit Concerns
Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc is cutting the prices of 1,045 items by an average of 18 percent in a bid to squelch fears that the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union will lift shoppers’ bills.
The reductions are the latest round in a price war among Morrison and the other major U.K. supermarket chains -- Tesco Plc, J Sainsbury Plc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Asda -- which are fighting competition from discounters Lidl and Aldi. It’s at least the third major round of cuts this year by Morrison.
Since the U.K.’s June 23 vote to leave the EU, which prompted a plunge in the pound, consumer confidence has fallen on concerns that retailers would raise prices in response. U.K. grocers import fresh produce and other items from the euro zone, which now cost more in the British currency. About 40 percent of the food bought in British supermarkets is imported, according to researcher Kantar Worldpanel.
“We are constantly listening to our customers and know they are concerned about whether food prices will go up following the Brexit vote, especially on imports,” Andy Atkinson, Morrison’s customer and marketing director, said in a statement Monday.
The vote for Brexit hasn’t yet changed prices at U.K. supermarkets or the amount shoppers are putting in their baskets, Kantar has said.
After Morrison’s cuts, the price of its part-baked white rolls will fall to 54 pence (72 cents) from 62 pence, while a four-pack of Branston baked beans will be reduced to 1.50 pounds from 2 pounds, the company said.
Morrison’s shares fell 2.5 percent to 181.20 pence at 8:31 a.m. in London, trimming their gain this year to 22 percent.
News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.