By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
Published on 18 November, 2012
Morrisons’ fresh seafood sales already perform well, but analysts expect them to increase with recently-launched improvements.
The Bradford, West Yorkshire-based grocery chain recently added 30 new products to its seafood range and is improving 20 other prepared products. “Customers will now have 425 lines of seafood to get hooked on, along with an array of 50 different fish varieties across the year,” according to a statement from the retailer.
New products include pre-boned and skinned fish, which is ready-to-bake in bags and oven trays. “You can also now buy pre-priced portions of fish favorites to avoid any confusing by-the-kilo pricing,” the statement said.
Morrisons also stepped up training requirements for its 1,000 fishmongers, sending them to the Billingsgate Market’s Seafood School. “They are trained in how to cook seafood correctly and can offer customers suggestions on how they can cook the fish themselves,” said George Kotschy, a Morrisons spokesperson. In addition, the retailer recently opened its own factory in Grimsby to ensure the freshness of its fish.
All these efforts are expected to boost seafood sales at a chain that already out-performs most of its competitors in terms of seafood sales. “For a mainstream operator, their over-trade on fresh fish is 20 percent to 30 percent [seafood makes up between 20 and 30 percent of their total shopping basket],” said Edward Garner, director of Kantar WorldPanel, which tracks U.K. supermarket performance.
The way that Morrison’s presents its fresh seafood department to shoppers helps it stand apart from its competitors, according to Garner. “They are very strong on retail theater. Fruit, vegetables and seafood are areas that you can put a bit of drama into the store,” he said.
While Morrisons is improving its seafood offerings, the retailer’s share of the U.K. grocery market dropped 11.5 percent in the most recent quarter, according to Kantar WorldPanel. “The two fastest channels of growth in the U.K. supermarket sector is online and convenience stores — the smaller stores — and Morrisons does not really have a presence in either of those categories,” Garner said.