Eastwood takes reins as Spurs rides into sunset

04 May, 2007

Morrisons' licensed trades director John Spurs will retire at the end of December.

Spurs, who has been with the Bradford-based grocer for 21 years, was officially replaced by his second-in-command, Grant Eastwood, on April 1. He will continue to work closely with the Morrisons BWS team until his retirement.

Spurs said "building up a team of fantastic people" and developing the BWS section from "20 per cent of the business to 42 per cent" were among his key achievements during 14 years in the job.

He said another highlight was his team's work on the BWS portfolio when Morrisons bought Safeway in 2004 - a move which made it the fourth-largest supermarket group in the UK.

"The takeover of Safeway was a fascinating experience, particularly on wine. It's gone well and we've turned the corner. The section now is just moving forward," he said. "The main achievement is the way that we've worked with store operations," Spurs added.

"When you look at our stores now compared to the way they were in the past, they are totally different. In 1998, we completely revamped the whole thing in terms of making them customer-friendly and shops within shops."

Displaying drinks in end-of-aisle and free-standing units became more common under Spurs' watch.

Spurs - whose retail career began when he was aged six at his grandfather's Sunderland shop - said he might undertake some work within the trade after retiring.

Morrisons has revamped its logo, retaining the M symbol but with a new yellow and green colour scheme . Re branding will start in July with ­advertising, fresh food packaging and in-store signage.

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