UK supermarket Morrisons completes sale of Fresh Direct stake

A Morrisons sign is seen outside a supermarket in London January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

(Reuters) - Britain's Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc MRW.L said on Tuesday it had completed the sale of its 10 percent stake in U.S. online food retailer Fresh Direct for 45 million pounds ($58 million), more than two years after it announced the sale.

Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket chain, bought the stake for 31 million pounds in 2011.

The British retailer, whose brands include Free From and Food To Go, said in March 2014 that it would exit from non-core activities, including its childrenswear business Kiddicare and Fresh Direct. (

Morrisons sold Kiddicare in July 2014 for 2 million pounds.

David Potts, a former Tesco TSCO.L executive, was appointed Morrisons CEO in February last year as part of the company's attempt to boost sales, which have been lagging behind rivals Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda WMT.N and Sainsbury's SBRY.L.

Under Potts, Morrisons has been strengthening its online business. The company amended its partnership terms with online grocer Ocado Group Plc OCDO.L last week, allowing it to extend home delivery services across the United Kingdom using its own stores to provide some products.

($1 = 0.7709 pounds)

Reporting by Pranav Kiran in Bengalurul; Editing by Ted Kerr