Bakers will take centre-stage at Morrisons stores, as the chain embarks on a strategy to reinvent itself as a cut-price Waitrose.Bakery counters will be more visible as part of its Market Street concept – fresh food counters intended to mimic an old-fahioned shopping experience. New packaging will flag up the 1,700 product lines, such as pizzas and sandwiches, made at Morrisons stores, while chief executive Marc Bolland aims to introduce a new slogan, to replace ’More reasons to shop at Morrisons’, in a bid to emphasise its fresh food and good service.He admitted that some shoppers perceived it as merely a low-price store but said the chain’s unique ownership of bakeries, packaging plants and abbattoirs should give it a competitive advantage over bigger rivals. Morrisons plans to open more smaller stores and extend 42 stores this year.
Bakery product supplier, CSM, has reported a 23% fall in pre-tax profit to E27m (£22.1m) in the third quarter as the recession starts to bite. Although sales increased by 2% to E639.5m (£523.1m), CSM said it had seen evidence of “downscaling and downtrading” by customers.Chief executive Gerard Hoetmer said the firm’s bakery supplies businesses, particularly in the UK and Germany, are facing difficult market conditions and consumer confidence has fallen sharply.John Lindsay, business unit director of CSM-owned Bake-Mark UK, told British Baker: “BakeMark UK has a leading market position within the artisan, in-store bakery and indus- trial sectors. We also have a significant position within the out-of-home/foodservice market. As such, we are subject to rapidly changing consumer behaviour, which is affecting purchasing patterns within these channels.”We are working closely with our key customers in order to further stimulate volume through accelerating our levels of innovation, including initiatives that meet the needs of the evolving market conditions and supporting focused promotio- nal activity.”