Morrisons bullish over wine category

13 June, 2014

The Morrisons wine team is bullish about its future prospects despite criticism for launching the controversial three-for-£10 promotion and scrapping its dedicated wine website.

Phil Cave, wine category manager at Morrisons, told OLN: “We have pretty broad shoulders. We are the only multiple growing market share over the past 52 weeks and we are moving in the right direction.

“We now have more than 100 convenience stores and wine will benefit as we roll out convenience stores.

“We have more than doubled our own brand range and we are getting towards the levels of the other supermarkets.

“The store environment is brighter, lighter and airier.

“Wine for the last two to three years has been acknowledged as a key category where we have an opportunity. That’s not changed. The business is putting its money where its mouth is.”

Head of wine operations Mark Jarman pointed to the improving quality of the wines after more than half of its own-label offering won medals at the IWC.

He said: “I don’t think any retailer has made as many positive changes as Morrisons over the past 12 months – significant numbers of own-label products, convenience store roll-out, dot com for the first time as a business. It’s culminated in a massive amount of winners in the IWC.

“Sixty-two of our wines have won medals at the IWC, including 10 Chalkboard wines. That is positioned as a great value offering, so it’s a great endorsement of the quality of the wines.

“We recognised that wine is a major opportunity for Morrisons and invested in it as a major resource. We are seeing positive share development because we are doing a lot of new things and we are now seeing the fruits of that.”

Dedicated wine site ended this week and it has now been integrated into Morrisons’ overall grocery site.

Morrison Cellar had delivered across the UK through a courier courier the general grocery site only covers Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Birmingham, Manches­ter, Hull and parts of west London, reducing the amount of potential customers.

But online wine buyer Laura Sheen argued that not all is lost for the retailer’s online ambitions.

“Morrisons Cellar continues to exist, but we are moving home,” she said. :It will still have a range of exclusive wines. We will still be shouting about our wines. We are improving the proposition for the customer.

“It will be delivered by a Morrisons driver within an hour of it being sold and it will be ready to drink on the night. We now have the ability to deliver wine already chilled.

“We are hoping to maintain the traffic we have got but also get more exposure to our grocery customers so we can get our wine offering in front of as many people as possible.”

BWS category director Steve Mosey added: “The new move will make it even easier for our customers to purchase great value, high quality wines alongside their food purchases. Our revolutionary Taste Test tool remains online to help guide customers to make wine choices best suited to them. It reflects our commitment to continually improve our services and deliver the best options for our customers.” 

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