London -- Wm Morrison Supermarkets said Thursday it will have the technology systems, online presence and c-store counts by 2015 to significantly close the gap on its closest competitors.
Britain’s No. 4 grocer trails Tesco, Wal-Mart's Asda and J Sainsbury in annual sales. Its CEO Dalton Philips is optimistic about the chain’s ability to compete. “I've only been here three years,” he told Bloomberg. “There was no plan for online, there was no plan for convenience and we had systems, which were 20th century.”
The chain is leveraging a $448 million investment to add “21st-century systems,” he said, including accounting, supply chain management and automated cash-handling solutions.
"We found ourselves five, even 10 years, behind. While we have made real progress in closing the gap, we are not there yet, but we will have done so by 2015," Philips said.
In May, Morrisons acquired online grocer Ocado to enter the home-delivery market.