Morrisons supermarket is downmarket

Anonymous

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 13.09

Safeway in Solihull changed to Morrisons a few months ago and has deteriorated into a downmarket shop. The staff are disgusting and think nothing of barging into customers shopping in there. Now the customers are getting worse too. It was a massive mistake to change from Safeway.
Dr Lobster*
Posts: 2013
Joined: Sat 30 Aug, 2003 20.14

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 13.28

morrisons is really only one step up from the likes of lidl, aldi etc etc

the correlation is: cheap food -> ideal for people on low income -> people on low income tend to be uneducated -> uneducated people tend to be from the lower classes.
cwathen
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Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 15.18

In the Safeway stores in my area (which still say Safeway outside, although beyond that the brand is completely meaningless now - it's Morrisons carrier bags and Morrisons own brand all the way) I can't say I've noticed that much of a difference since the takeover.

But, I still maintain that it was a stupid idea to buy Safeway with the ultimate intention of removing the brand name. However much Morrison's don't like it, Safeway is a big, nationwide supermarket brand which the average person will put in the same category as Tesco and Sainsbury's. In contrast, Morrisons only has strong brand reccognition in the north, beyond that it was virtually unheard of until the takeover last year, and still now is not recognised as any type of big name brand - as was said earlier in this thread, on a national scale it's recognised more in the same league as Lidl and Aldi rather than with Tesco and Sainsbury's.

I understand that their idea is that the Morrisons brand will be built up and one day will be up there with Tescos and Sainsbury's, but it makes no business sense to do it with that brand name. Why put time and money into developing the relatively weak Morrisons brand into a strong national brand when they allready own a strong national brand which they could have pursued with? I personally see no reason why they couldn't have let Morrisons and Safeway run side by side for the significant future, but if they decided that they couldn't support two brands, it would actually make much more sense to ditch Morrisons and rebrand everything as Safeway than it would to do it the other way round.

Before anyone says that no one would ever buy out a company and then ditch their own brand in favour of that company's despite it being a stronger brand...look no further than NTL to see evidence of exactly that happening.

Incidentally, Morrisons is stepping up it's coversion now - Safeway no longer has it's own website; instead http://www.safeway.co.uk just redirects to http://www.morrisons.co.uk
cat
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Location: The Magic Faraway Tree

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 16.07

cwathen wrote:In the Safeway stores in my area (which still say Safeway outside, although beyond that the brand is completely meaningless now - it's Morrisons carrier bags and Morrisons own brand all the way) I can't say I've noticed that much of a difference since the takeover.

But, I still maintain that it was a stupid idea to buy Safeway with the ultimate intention of removing the brand name. However much Morrison's don't like it, Safeway is a big, nationwide supermarket brand which the average person will put in the same category as Tesco and Sainsbury's. In contrast, Morrisons only has strong brand reccognition in the north, beyond that it was virtually unheard of until the takeover last year, and still now is not recognised as any type of big name brand - as was said earlier in this thread, on a national scale it's recognised more in the same league as Lidl and Aldi rather than with Tesco and Sainsbury's.

I understand that their idea is that the Morrisons brand will be built up and one day will be up there with Tescos and Sainsbury's, but it makes no business sense to do it with that brand name. Why put time and money into developing the relatively weak Morrisons brand into a strong national brand when they allready own a strong national brand which they could have pursued with? I personally see no reason why they couldn't have let Morrisons and Safeway run side by side for the significant future, but if they decided that they couldn't support two brands, it would actually make much more sense to ditch Morrisons and rebrand everything as Safeway than it would to do it the other way round.

Before anyone says that no one would ever buy out a company and then ditch their own brand in favour of that company's despite it being a stronger brand...look no further than NTL to see evidence of exactly that happening.

Incidentally, Morrisons is stepping up it's coversion now - Safeway no longer has it's own website; instead http://www.safeway.co.uk just redirects to http://www.morrisons.co.uk
Nonsense.

You're telling me that people 'down south' have never come across Morrison's?

I've never shopped at Waitrose, but I've still heard of it.

You can't go and run two brands side-by-side, it'll cost you an absolute fortune.

The Safeway brand was never particularly strong, and it's never been up at the top of the supermarket tree in the way that, say, Sainsbury's has.

Morrison's took over Safeway because they had lots and lots of stores, not because they thought ''ooh, let's reinvent ourselves''.

The fact of the matter is that, for Morrison's, their strategy (of being cheap and appealing to lower social class of shoppers) must have played off somewhere, because they've just completed one of the biggest supermarket takeovers in British history. To ditch what has clearly been a successful brand and strategy after completing a massive takeover would be rather stupid.
cwathen
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Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 17.10

Nonsense.

You're telling me that people 'down south' have never come across Morrison's?
Where do you come from? By 'down south' do you mean 'in or around London'? Before takeover, there were no Morrisons stores in Cornwall. Before, takeover, there were no Morrisons stores in Devon. And although I can't say for certain that there were none, I had never seen a Morrisons store in Somerset or Dorset either.

Before takeover, Morrisons did not advertise on TV in the south west where such advertising could be regionalised. Before takeover, the only time I had ever heard of or experienced Morrisons was when doing GCSE English and we had to compare some advertising between different supermarket brands - and incidentally, it was NEAB's GCSE course that I did.
I've never shopped at Waitrose, but I've still heard of it.
OK, so you've heard of Waitrose, but never shopped there. Is Waitrose a significant supermarket chain to you? If you're asked to name the first 3 supermarket brands that come into your head, is Waitrose likely to be on there?
You can't go and run two brands side-by-side, it'll cost you an absolute fortune.
Now THAT is rubbish. There are loads of examples of single companies having multiple brands offering the same products. DSG has Currys AND Dixons, SMG has Scottish TV AND Grampian TV, Time Computers has both Time AND Tiny. Rover Group has Rover AND MG.

And to take my point to it's extreme, Alba Group has Alba AND Bush AND Goodmans AND Grundig AND Harvard, all of which could sell AV equipment, AND they have licenced the use of other brands for certain types of product despite allready owning suitable brands for those products (they are allowed to make NTL-branded phones, and Ministry of Sound-branded audio equipment etc). All in all, Alba group products can be sold under one of 20 brand names (and that's not a plucked out of the air figure, go and count the brands on their corporate website). Do you want me to go on?
The Safeway brand was never particularly strong, and it's never been up at the top of the supermarket tree in the way that, say, Sainsbury's has.
The Safeway brand was 'never particularly strong'? How not? Virtually every town of significance across the entire UK has/had a Safeway store. Morrisons on the other hand may have had strong market presence in certain areas, but there are huge swathes of the country in which the brand had no presence at all until less than a year ago. Even now, if you ask people to name what they consider to be the 3 most recognisable supermarket brands, I firmly believe that you are much more likely to hear 'Tesco, Sainsbury's and Safeway' than you are to hear 'Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons'
Morrison's took over Safeway because they had lots and lots of stores, not because they thought ''ooh, let's reinvent ourselves''.
No, but having taken over Safeway they decided to waste no time in getting their brand name everwhere. Buying out Safeway is now going to be used to create the national roll out of their brand which they never had before. My point however is that in buying Safeway they were buying a brand which allready had national recognition, and if they truly wanted to improve their business, they'd do better dropping the Morrisons brand and pushing forward Safeway...or just do the obvious and be called Morrisons where Morrisons is strong and Safeway everywhere else.

The fact of the matter is that, for Morrison's, their strategy (of being cheap and appealing to lower social class of shoppers) must have played off somewhere, because they've just completed one of the biggest supermarket takeovers in British history.
Indeed, because the Safeway brand was a trophy. If it had been the other way around, and Safeway had just completed the takeover of Morrisons, would it have been seen as such a big deal? Somehow, I think not.
To ditch what has clearly been a successful brand and strategy after completing a massive takeover would be rather stupid.
Morrisons is clearly succesful in areas where the brand has been cultivated. But in many areas of the country, they've got to start from scratch. And even in areas of the country where Morrisons was a big brand, so was Safeway too. Personally, I think they should have continued with both brands for at least the next 5 years before conducting a review and deciding on whether to maintain that situation or whether to go with a single brand strategy.

I don't agree at all that they should have immediately started to favour one brand over the other, but if they were going to go that way, sticking with Morrisons was a mistake. What we are seeing here is not the product of months of market research into what makes a good supermarket brand, what we are seeing is the result of a knee-jerk reaction by company directors wanting Morrisons to be recognised nationally and thus building up their business, completely ignoring the fact that with Safeway they aquired a brand which allready had that status and potential; in essence they are now going to spend money to create a brand with the status of one which they allready own. And that makes no sense.
Fireboy
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Location: Tyneside

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 17.19

To be honest I'd never heard of Morrisons until about 3 years ago, there weren't any in North Durham or Tyne and Wear that I know of.
Luke
Posts: 85
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Location: London

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 18.01

My local Safeway has just been sold to Somerfield and was converted in 3 days. Pretty strange as it's exterior had been in the process of changing to the Morrisons design a few weeks ago.
Andrew
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Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 18.18

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 18.04

cwathen wrote:The Safeway brand was 'never particularly strong'? How not? Virtually every town of significance across the entire UK has/had a Safeway store.
I don't know about that. In Morrison's heartland of West Yorkshire there are hardly any Safeways. The same goes for the Kwik Save/Somerfield situation. A Kwik Save near me has been rebranded Somerfield Essentials, most people in this area won't have been in a Somerfield before
Morrisons on the other hand may have had strong market presence in certain areas, but there are huge swathes of the country in which the brand had no presence at all until less than a year ago. Even now, if you ask people to name what they consider to be the 3 most recognisable supermarket brands, I firmly believe that you are much more likely to hear 'Tesco, Sainsbury's and Safeway' than you are to hear 'Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons'
I'd say Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda anyway. What you are saying is true but that's because the takeover is recent.
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Pete
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Tue 22 Feb, 2005 19.00

Fireboy wrote:To be honest I'd never heard of Morrisons until about 3 years ago, there weren't any in North Durham or Tyne and Wear that I know of.
there's been one in Tynemouth ever since Preston Grange and the tiny Presto closed down.

As much as it pains me to do so, I actually have to disagree with Tom and agree with cwanten. It is perfectly possible to run brands together. Alba, as has been stated, and Arcadia who have shops that are very similar to each other (Burtons + Topman) and even have "Outfit" which sells all the brands they have in one shop.

Morrisons takeover was ego drivven. Ken wanted his brand to be everywhere and Safeway was the unlucky chain that got picked.

Luckily round here Somerfield has taken over and, while they have their faults, they are much closer to Safeways in terms of quality. Oddly Morrisons wasn't as bad when it was just Morrisons, it seems to have got poorer since the takeover. You'd think they'd use the better quality Safeway products but for any other fans of The Best Fudge Yoghurt will know, they've even bastardised those (by removing half the fudge chunks, getting rid of the snazzy pots and making it less thick).
Fireboy
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue 10 Feb, 2004 18.35
Location: Tyneside

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 19.39

Our local Safeway was rebranded Morrisons a few months back. The layout is similar, but that's about all that is.

Quality - down
Cleanliness - way down
Stock control - abysmal
Staff Morale - non existant
Special offers on loo roll - not any more.

Also, all those little things which made Safeway such a good store have all vanished. For example - Pease Pudding. No, I don't eat it, but the little pots have been dropped in favour of plastic bags. Who wants to get Pease Pudding out of a plastic bag?

The stock control issue is also apalling. I have studied the EPOS system, which automaticaly re-orders in stock if supplies run low. Now I'd imagine even our 'Co-Op Local' has this system - so how are Morrisons having so many problems?
cwathen
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Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Tue 22 Feb, 2005 20.16

I don't know about that. In Morrison's heartland of West Yorkshire there are hardly any Safeways. The same goes for the Kwik Save/Somerfield situation. A Kwik Save near me has been rebranded Somerfield Essentials, most people in this area won't have been in a Somerfield before
But there were at least some Safeway stores? You did at least recognise Safeway as a big everyday supermarket brand? In contrast, Morrisons had NO STORES AT ALL in huge swathes of the country, and there are vast numbers of people who had never heard of them until their takeover of Safeway last year.
I'd say Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda anyway. What you are saying is true but that's because the takeover is recent.
Fair enough, but I think you get the point. And I see from your answer that Morrisons still wouldn't get a look in. It doesn't matter that the takeover is recent, there was no need to take over the chain and immediately announce the death of the brand, with some stores being sold off and with all those retained undergoing a bizarre some bizarre sort of brand cleansing in an effort to pretend that Safeway never existed.

As I've said above and as someone has agreed with me, Morrisons are spending money in order to build a brand up to be as strong as a brand which they allready own. There is no reason to do that for any other reason than pointless willy waving which will probably ultimately be paid for in jobs (if they weren't busy 'converting 4 Safeway stores to Morrisons every week', then maybe they'd be able to afford to retain more stores).
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