LONDON Jan 4 Britain's No. 4 grocer, Wm
Morrison, forecast by analysts as the worst performing
of the major supermarkets at Christmas, is hoping an advertising
tie-up with comedy duo Ant & Dec will revive its fortunes.
Recent industry data has shown Morrisons losing market share
to big rivals Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda and J
Sainsbury as well as discounters Aldi and Lidl.
In November the 482-store grocer posted a worsening sales
decline and parted company with its commercial director, Richard
Hodgson, saying it had failed to get its selling points across
The Bradford, northern England, based firm said on Friday
that Ant & Dec will front a campaign throughout 2013 that will
showcase the grocer's traditional skills - over 5,000 trained
butchers, bakers and fishmongers - that it claims sets it apart
from the rest of Britain's major supermarkets.
Morrisons' deal with broadcaster ITV, FremantleMedia
Enterprises, Syco and James Grant Management will see the grocer
sponsor ITV's flagship Saturday night shows Britain's Got Talent
and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway as well as an
advertising and brand campaign.
On Monday Morrisons will update on trading for the six weeks
to Dec. 30.
Analysts are forecasting a fall in sales at stores open over
a year, excluding fuel, of about 2 percent - a decline that is
likely to make it the sector's laggard of the festive season,
though it partly reflects the firm's lack of an online presence
and minimal convenience store offer.