Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips declines to be considered for annual bonus of £374,000 in wake of disappointing earnings report, company spokesman says

LONDON , March 27, 2014 () – Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC's Chief Executive Dalton Philips declined to be considered for his annual bonus of GBP374,000 in the wake of disappointing trading, a spokesman for the supermarket group told Alliance News Thursday.

Philips would have been eligible for a GBP374,000 bonus, half in cash immediately and half paid in shares subject to a three-year deferral, the spokesman said. However, Philips declined to be considered for the bonus because of the company's poor trading performance, he added.

The UK's fourth largest supermarket retailer reported dismal earnings results on March 13, when it said it swung to a pretax loss of GBP176 million in the twelve months to February 2, compared with a pretax profit of GBP879 million the prior year, as revenues declined 2% and as it booked a total of GBP903 million in exceptional costs.

It announced a raft of measures aimed at turning around the business, after it lost further ground to bigger rivals in 2013 and was hit by growing heavy discounters like Aldi and Lidl. The measures included heavy investments in price cuts, property disposals, sales of businesses including baby products retailer Kiddicare, and cuts to capital expenditure, all of which will weigh on its results in 2014.

Morrison joined the growing price war in the sector, saying it will invest GBP300 million this year in customer propositions, including price cuts, although Philips did not specify how much of that would be invested directly on price reductions.

In the financial year ended January 29, 2013, Philips was paid a base salary of GBP850,000 but none of the company's directors got short-term bonuses because the performance targets that would have triggered a payout were missed, according to the company's annual report. Philips was awarded GBP2.3 million worth of shares under the company's long-term incentive plan for that year.

Shares in Morrisons were trading at 212.48 pence per share, up 0.6% Thursday afternoon.

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