Britain's fourth biggest grocer Morrisons is licking its wounds after reporting its lowest annual profits in eight years. It's been squeezed by rivals at the top and bottom and as Hayley Platt reports the trend is reflected across the sector in Europe.
It's Britain's fourth biggest supermarket - and an example of how middle market retailers in Europe are finding it hard. Morrisons has just reported its lowest annual profits in eight years. It's the third straight decline despite a decision last year to spend 1 billion pounds on price cuts. It's trying to stem the loss of shoppers to German discounters Aldi and Lidl. They're cleaning up across many western countries, according to a new report by OC&C Strategy Consultants. Aldi's number five in their list of fastest growing retailers. It's grown by £1.2 billion every year since 2011 in the UK, opening 40 new stores each year. Anita Balchandani is a partner with OC&C. SOUNDBITE: Anita Balchandani, Partner, OC&C Consultancy, saying (English): "In countries like Germany and the Netherlands the discount segment is around 35/36 percent market share, in the UK it stands at 6 percent, so we think there's really still quite a lot of headroom in the US and in the UK for a number of the discount players to continue they're growth." No surprises for who takes the top spots - Apple and Amazon are first and second, with Ebay in 7th place. Spanish clothing retailer Inditex, owner of Zara along with TJX, which owns brands like America's Target and J C Penny, are also ranked highly. SOUNDBITE: Anita Balchandani, Partner, OC&C Consultancy, saying (English): "One of the traits that seems to unite all of the growth leaders in our study is they're all incredibly responsive businesses. They're out there listening to customers. They're unafraid to try things and experiment." The study suggests the UK is a hotspot of retail activity, despite some tough economic conditions in recent years. Fashion brands like Burberry and Net-A-Porter have led the way. As for Morrisons - it's back to the drawing board - a new CEO starts on Monday.