Morrison a proud Yorkshireman during his lifetime was respected highly as one of the top guns in the retail world due to his no-nonsense shopkeeping approach. Also renowned for his stinging wit, Morrison told former boss (who stalled business even after modernizing the chain by adopting the Internet and moving into convenience stores) Dalton Philips, that his strategy was nonsensical.
Morrison didn’t have the time for modern fancies like online retailing, but purchased abattoirs, pie-making factories, and vegetable packing sheds as a move to keep waste to a minimum.
From the date (1967) when the company became part of the London Stock Exchange, it recorded nearly four decades of uninterrupted profit and sales growth.
The business was a reliable, regional player which almost grew entirely under its steam until Morrison bought rival Safeway chain back in 2004. This move took Morrison’s business into the south of England making it the fourth largest grocer in the UK.
It also marked the start of a period of dwindling at the chain, as it struggled to combine two different businesses. This lead to a number of boardroom battles that led to Morrison’s retirement back in 2008. As at that time the company had 375 stores, serving 9 million customers weekly.