This year my role has been to ensure that the World Food category at Morrisons provides products and services tailored to our customers, getting the right products, in the right stores, at the right price!
My main focus is to broaden our appeal to a more diverse customer base, we subsequently added three new cuisines choices (African, Far Eastern and Halal). We also added three completely new categories (Non-Food, Bakery and Meat); it gives our customers a diverse and far-ranging World Foods shopping choice.
The market segment for this category is huge and still has a massive potential for growth. The demographics are growing in favour of the section. The 2011 census results released last year show that customers are becoming far more adventurous in their food selection, embracing the new options and trying different worldwide foods.
Having been personally involved in this market sector for over the last ten years I have seen how the customers are always changing in terms of shopping demands and how retailers must adapt to their demands to continue to thrive.
To be relevant to the consumer you need to stay on top of the market, understanding the trends both now and in the future, listening to your customers and store colleagues, working in partnership with the suppliers, I spend a lot of time travelling to UK stores, trade fairs, events and suppliers and sometimes to worldwide exhibitions to ensure we capture any new trends and ideas. 2014 will see Morrisons continue to drive world food events and festivals such as the Halal Food Festival, London’s first (and the world’s largest) Halal food festival.
Customers have embraced our changes, our category sales growth continues to rise year on year and stores have reported an overwhelmingly positive response from customers, delighted at the prospect of being able to find more of what matters and appeals to them in their local Morrisons store.
The focus must be on the customer, reviewing their needs and wants on a store-by-store basis. We have re-planned over 200 stores this year to ensure the right ranges were available for customers.
Central to the success is the resources Morrisons has put behind this. We have doubled the size of its World Foods team and brought in industry experts Paul Lei (Ethnic Buyer) to bring further knowledge and experience.
In addition, a cross functional working group of over 20 managers was established alongside a steering committee of senior directors to ensure the planned changes were delivered to customers at pace.