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New Morrisons boss takes axe to management

| International retailers

A shake-up means five top bosses are to leave the chain as it sets a path to recovery in a fiercely competitive market.

The new chief executive of struggling Morrisons has only been in the job for just over a week but has already axed five members of its top management team.

David Potts, who took over the top job at the supermarket chain on 16 March, has ordered plans to streamline operations.

Morrisons said the five people affected were to "step down and leave the company".

The managers are group customer marketing & digital director Nick Collard, group retail director Martyn Fletcher, group property and strategy director Gordon Mowat, group logistics director Neal Austin and convenience managing director Nigel Robertson.

Mr Potts said: "I will now be constructing a leaner management board, with the aim of simplifying and speeding up the business.

"I would like to thank Nick, Martyn, Neil, Nigel and Gordon for their service to Morrisons."

Morrisons has been trailing major rivals in terms of sales and market share amid a bitter price war involving hard discounters.

Earlier this month it reported an annual loss of £792m - deepening from a loss before tax of £176m in 2013/14.

The chain said its like-for-like sales excluding fuel and VAT fell 5.9% over the last 12-month period.

The slump reflected Morrisons' strategic U-turn last year when it said it would spend £1bn on price cuts over three years to stem the loss of shoppers to the discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Mr Potts, a former Tesco executive, was brought in to replace Dalton Philips who was sacked following a poor trading performance over the crucial Christmas season.

His first decision was to pause the expansion of the chain's convenience M store offering - a sales platform it was late to develop - with 380 jobs at risk as a result.

He also launched a campaign to receive customer and staff feedback, pledged to work in a store in April and purchased over £1m of Morrisons shares.

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