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Window cleaning at Morrisons stores suspended to save money
Window cleaning at Morrisons stores has been suspended for two months due to financial constraints as tough trading conditions prevail and budget challengers grab an ever-bigger share of the grocery market.
The Bradford retailer, which reported a 2.4 per cent fall in like-for-like sales for its third quarter, said it had decided to reduce window cleaning because it was less important during the dark winter months.
Morrisons brake on spending with contractor Maintenance Manage-ment Ltd comes as its market share is growing by less than the three per cent market average, along with Asda and Tesco, according to recent figures from retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel. In contrast budget supermarket Aldi’s year-on-year growth rate was 31.7 per cent in the three months to the end of October and the latest in an unbroken series of double-digit growth figures dating back to early 2011.
The cleaning ban will run until February 2, the end of Morrisons’ financial year.
A Morrisons spokesman said: “Morrisons has decided to reduce window cleaning at stores because it is less important to customers at the darkest time of the year; because the water that runs off windows can be a slippage hazard in the winter; and so we can spend money on maintenance activity that our customers do care about at this time of year.
“We will be restoring the normal service in the spring and the reduction does not affect windows easily seen by customers.”
Meanwhile, Morrisons, along with other major supermarkets, have warned that a vote for Scottish independence in next year’s referendum could force up food prices there. Chief executive Dalton Philips said prices could be raised if new regulations by the Scottish Government pushed up business costs.
He said: “If the regulatory environment was to increase the burden of the cost structure on business, that would potentially have to be passed through to consumer pricing, because why should the English and Welsh consumer subsidise this increased cost of doing business in Scotland?”
Fears about new regulation have been heightened after the Scottish Government imposed extra taxes through the Public Health Levy.
Department stores saw the first rise in sales for nearly a year last month as early festive shopping sparked hopes of a rebound for the sector, according to new figures.
Spending in department stores rose 2.8 per cent year-on-year in November, having stayed in the red for 13 months in a row, according to Barclaycard.
So-called Black Friday last week saw spending up by more than a fifth, driven by a 41 per cent increase in the amount spent online.
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