(Reuters) – Britain’s fourth-biggest grocer Wm Morrison saw its sales decline worsen over the last three months as it continued to lose market share to hard discounters Aldi and Lidl, industry data showed on Tuesday.

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Morrisons. (2014). Annual report 2014. Available: Last accessed 12th Sep 2014.

Annual Report and Financial Statements 2013/14

View the Annual report and financial statements (microsite)
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Download the Annual report and financial statements (PDF)

Download the Strategic Report 2013-14 (PDF)

Applying Barney’s (1991) VRIN framework can determine if a resource is a source of sustainable competitive advantage. To serve as a basis for sustainable competitive advantage, resources must be —

  • valuable — meaning that they must be a source of greater value, in terms of relative costs and benefits, than similar resources in competing firms
  • rare — rareness implies that the resource must be rare in the sense that it is scarce relative to demand for its use or what it produces
  • inimitable — it is difficult to imitate
  • nonsubstitutable — other different types of resources cannot be functional substitutes

The criteria of the VRIN Framework clearly rules out best practices as a source of competitive advantage. If other firms can easily understand and copy a capability, it is not a source of advantage.

Using the TOWS Matrix

Developing Strategic Options From an External-Internal Analysis


Sometimes it helps to look at a problem from a different perspective.

© iStockphoto/skilpad

TOWS Analysis is a variant of the classic business tool, SWOT Analysis.

TOWS and SWOT are acronyms for different arrangements of the words Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

By analyzing the external environment (threats and opportunities), and your internal environment (weaknesses and strengths), you can use these techniques to think about the strategy of your whole organization, a department or a team. You can also use them to think about a process, a marketing campaign, or even your own skills and experience.

Our article on SWOT Analysis   helps you perform a thorough SWOT/TOWS Analysis. At a practical level, the only difference between TOWS and SWOT is that TOWS emphasizes the external environment whilst SWOT emphasizes the internal environment. In both cases, this analysis results in a SWOT (or TOWS) Matrix like the one shown below:

Strengths Weaknesses
Opportunities Threats

In this article, we look at how you can extend your use of SWOT and TOWS to think in detail about the strategic options open to you. While this approach can be used just as well with SWOT as TOWS, it’s most often associated with TOWS.

Identifying Strategic Options

SWOT or TOWS analysis helps you get a better understanding of the strategic choices that you face. (Remember that “strategy” is the art of determining how you’ll “win” in business and life.) It helps you ask, and answer, the following questions: How do you:

  • Make the most of your strengths?
  • Circumvent your weaknesses?
  • Capitalize on your opportunities?
  • Manage your threats?

A next step of analysis, usually associated with the externally-focused TOWS Matrix, helps you think about the options that you could pursue. To do this you match external opportunities and threats with your internal strengths and weaknesses, as illustrated in the matrix below:

TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix

External Opportunities

External Threats

Internal Strengths

“Maxi-Maxi” StrategyStrategies that use strengths to maximize opportunities.
“Maxi-Mini” StrategyStrategies that use strengths to minimize threats.
Internal Weaknesses (W)
“Mini-Maxi” StrategyStrategies that minimize weaknesses by taking advantage of opportunities.
“Mini-Mini” StrategyStrategies that minimize weaknesses and avoid threats.

TOWS Matrix © 1982 Heinz Weihrich, Ph.D.

This helps you identify strategic alternatives that address the following additional questions:

  • Strengths and Opportunities (SO) – How can you use your strengths to take advantage of the opportunities?
  • Strengths and Threats (ST) – How can you take advantage of your strengths to avoid real and potential threats?
  • Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO) – How can you use your opportunities to overcome the weaknesses you are experiencing?
  • Weaknesses and Threats (WT) – How can you minimize your weaknesses and avoid threats?

Using the Tool

Step 1: Print off our free SWOT Worksheet and perform a TOWS/SWOT analysis, recording your findings in the space provided. This helps you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, as well as identifying the opportunities and threats that you should be looking at.

Step 2: Print off our free TOWS Strategic Options Worksheet, and copy the key conclusions from the SWOT Worksheet into the area provided (shaded in blue).

Step 3: For each combination of internal and external environmental factors, consider how you can use them to create good strategic options:

  • Strengths and Opportunities (SO) – How can you use your strengths to take advantage of these opportunities?
  • Strengths and Threats (ST) – How can you take advantage of your strengths to avoid real and potential threats?
  • Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO) – How can you use your opportunities to overcome the weaknesses you are experiencing?
  • Weaknesses and Threats (WT) – How can you minimize your weaknesses and avoid threats?


The WT quadrant – weaknesses and threats – is concerned with defensive strategies. Put these into place to protect yourself from loss, however don’t rely on them to create success.

The options you identify are your strategic alternatives, and these can be listed in the appropriate quadrant of the TOWS worksheet.


When you have many factors to consider, it may be helpful to construct a matrix to match individual strengths and weaknesses to the individual opportunities and threats you’ve identified. To do this, you can construct a matrix such as the one below for each quadrant (SO, ST, WO, and WT).

UK online grocery sales forecast to double amid shakeup of retail market

Online, convenience and food discounters are the sectors to watch, says IGD, as it predicts a sharp rise in the value of the UK grocery market in the next five years

Grocers rush to open ‘dark stores’ as online food shopping expands

Supermarket chains including Tesco, Asda and Waitrose to sign up for twice as much warehouse space to meet internet sales

Online shopping for food set to increase by 126% as families tire of trudging the aisles at the supermarket

  • Industry study predicts sales increase of £14.6billion in next five years
  • Takings in convenience branches of stores to go up to £46billion

Morrisons price war wipes £3bn off food retailers

Supermarket group to take on Aldi and Lidl after 2.8pc fall in sales and write-down of assets

The labour market

Estimates by the ONS in 2014 put the size of the Uklabour force at 32.7m workers out of an estimated population of 63.7m.  The labour market includes the supply of labour by households and the demand for labour by firms. Wages represent the price of labour, which provide an income to households and represent a cost to firms. In a hypothetical free market economy, wages are determined by the unregulated interaction of demand and supply. However, in real mixed economies, governments and trade unions can exert an influence on wage levels.

Nominal and real nominal wages

Nominal wages are the money wages paid to labour in a given period of time. Real wages are nominal wages, adjusted to take into account changes in the price level. Most workers expect at least an annual increase in their money wages to reflect price increases, and so maintain their real wages.

The demand for labour

The main factors affecting the demand for labour are:

The wage rate

The higher the wage rate, the lower the demand for labour. Hence, the demand for labour curve slopes downwards. As in all markets, a downward sloping demand curve can be explained by reference to the income and substitution effects.

At higher wages, firms look to substitute capital for labour, or cheaper labour for the relatively expensive labour. In addition, if firms carry on using the same quantity of labour, their labour costs will rise and their income (profits) will fall. For both reasons, demand for labour will fall as wages rise.

Morrisons enters the online market – but is it too late?



UK mobile devices usage and demographic roundup

2 Introduction


Smartphone and tablet usage is on the rise and brands and enterprises need to make sure they are up-to-date with the changes in consumer behaviour that the devices bring.

As ownership explodes, research data has often lagged behind. Thankfully this position is now being rectified as research organisations and even government departments help to shape our understanding of who is using intelligent mobile devices and how they are using them.

This data provides a critical insight for any marketing departments, entrepreneurs and creative agencies that need to invest in mobile.

We Are Apps have collated the most recent data and research in a single digest. It is intended to give you a quick, top-line view of the information you need to make informed decisions when planning an app, mobile campaign or any digital communications that could be accessed by mobile devices.

For more in-depth statistics, we encourage you to consult the various organisations that have supplied the original data. Each is attributed at the end of this document, along with a link to the original report.

The sections included are:

Who uses smartphones, which aims to explain who in the UK is using smartphones and tablets, how old they are and what devices they use.

How they are using them, which aims to explain what people do with their smartphones and tablets and especially how addicted UK smartphone users are to their devices.

Where are they using them, which aims to show that people are using their phones wherever they go, and takes a closer look at the use of Wi-Fi and data roaming. We also take a look at how smartphones are making life easier by exploring the statistics for mobile usage during shopping.

Finally, as many decision makers are considering whether to create an application or whether it’s better to optimise their website for mobile, we have also included a comparison of mobile websites to mobile apps.

Ian Malone Managing Director, We Are Apps, London, January 2013



Internet Access – Households and

Individuals, 2013

Coverage: GB

Date: 08 August 2013

Geographical Area: Country

Theme: People and Places

Key points

  • In 2013, 36 million adults (73%) in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day, 20 million more

than in 2006, when directly comparable records began.

  • Access to the Internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, from

24% to 53%.

  • In 2013, 72% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008.
  • In Great Britain, 21 million households (83%) had Internet access in 2013.
  • Broadband Internet connections using fibre optic or cable were used by 42% of households, up

from 30% in 2012.

You may already use social media for making contact with others, keeping them informed, meeting, planning and doing things together. However, social media are also an important tool for political literacy.

Social media is new weapon in war on British jihadis

Twitter and Facebook costing economy £14bn a year

Social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are costing the British economy up to £14 billion a year in lost working time, a new survey has suggested.


Facebook ‘adds £2bn to UK economy’

Study concludes that social network supports 35,200 UK jobs and adds £2.2bn to British economy each year

Online networking ‘harms health’

A teenager using a computer

There are concerns that social networking keeps people apart

People’s health could be harmed by social networking sites because they reduce levels of face-to-face contact, an expert claims.


Toxic childhood’ of cyberbullying, social media and hypersexualised culture leads one in five teenagers to self-harm

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

World Health Organisation says 20% of 15-year-olds self-harmed in last year

New report questioned 6,000 children aged 11, 13 and 15 in England

Similar study carried out in 2002 revealed 6.9% had self-harmed

Experts put trend down to growing online pressures and sexualisation

More girls report feeling unhappy than boys, the report reveals

The ‘Spiral of Silence’: How social media encourages self-censorship online

A new report from the US suggests that Facebook and Twitter make us less likely to express opinions if we think others will disagree with us

Social media data and real time analytics

Traditional data storage systems were not designed for real-time analysis but new technologies can now provide live information and data analysis can accomplished in real-time. Social media data offers the possibility of studying social processes as they unfold at the level of populations as an alternative to traditional surveys or interviews. The data from social media is described as “qualitative data on a quantitative scale” and requires innovative analysis techniques.

New technology uses social media to keep track of water levels

A new tool monitors river levels and publishes the data via social media, helping prepare both citizens and businesses for the impacts of climate change

Social media use

What we share and how we moderate comments on our social media channels, including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Our social media guidance document explains how we manage our social media accounts and the service that you can expect to receive from us via these channels.

The felfie: how farmers are embracing social media

Farmers are posting their ‘felfies’ online, but it’s not just for fun – social media is a lifeline for people in a lonely profession

Current laws sufficient to cover social media offences

Legislation currently in existence, including the Communications Act 2003 and the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, along with the guidelines for applying them published by the Director of Public Prosecutions, are enough to ensure that criminal offences committed using social media can be adequately prosecuted, says the House of Lords Communications Committee in its new report, published today.

Twitter users: A guide to the law

People who tweeted photos allegedly of child killer Jon Venables are being charged with contempt of court. It’s the latest in a long line of cases that suggest that ordinary social media users need to have a grasp of media law.


iPhone iPad

Customer Reviews



I’ve been a fanatical Ocado customer for the past 5 years due to their brilliant app and great service, and this brings exactly that but with Morrison’s products – so fantastic fresh produce at a fraction of the cost of Waitrose. Ocado have just replicated everything that’s brilliant about their app for Waitrose and given it to Morrisons – inspired!

Fantastic app

by SamsMum5

Morrisons have just leapfrogged the competition with their online shopping app. Technology is from Ocado, so you get the same level of quality, but groceries at 3/4 of the price.

Fantastic accessibility

by Smugg22

This app has great VoiceOver accessibility. As a blind user, it has been a pleasure to use. Thank you

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