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The supermarket chain posted a loss of £176m this morning, compared to a profit of £870m the year before.

Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON:MRW) announced a loss of £176 million this morning, compared to a profit of £870 million the year before. Shares tumbled in early morning trade following the news.

Phil Dorrell, director of Retail Remedy, comments on the results of the UK's fourth largest supermarket: "Is there anything left to lose? Morrisons is now emitting serious warning signs and this is the position it has been in for over a year.

"What's going wrong? Morrisons has an estate that lacks any format excitement, uninspired marketing, sharp competitors in Aldi and Lidl, and, to top it all off, zero sense of direction. It feels as dated as it does rudderless. It's playing catch-up in all areas of its business, from online to convenience.

"Dalton Philips is an experienced retailer but has failed to deliver a clear and robust strategy. The truth is that the main portfolio has simply not moved on in the four years he has been there. In the meantime, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose are gorging themselves on his market share. Morrisons has even lost ground to the discounters on fresh foods.

"As an old-school grocer, the one thing Morrisons can do is run stores with discipline and standards but morale is eroding in the glaring absence of inspired leadership. The Kiddicare venture rapidly proved a mistake and simply delivered even more poorly formatted stores with an indistinct proposition. Kiddicare is now being kicked ignominiously into the long grass.

"Selling a percentage of the freeholds is a means to keep some share price dignity but means nothing without a clearly defined statement of intent and a strategy to make it all happen. The Deepdale M-discount trial is interesting and brave but looks ill-executed and will simply not appeal in some markets. It does, however, show what brave thinking can do and should be applauded."

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