Morrisons abandon £1 trolley locks

Will this mean more abandoned trolleys?

Updated: 

Inside A Morrisons Supermarket Ahead Of Interim Earnings

Beleaguered Morrisons - its share price has slumped to 171.90p, a massive 43% drop since last autumn - is to abandon the £1 trolley locks in an attempt to pull more shoppers into its stores. Around 150,000 trolley locks will go from almost 280 supermarkets across the country.

Morrisons bosses claim it's a move that will benefit busy people - but will it introduce more runaway trolleys onto our roads while making Morrisons more popular?

More trolley blight?

Morrisons claims AWOL trolleys shouldn't be an issue because it's investing, it claims, in more CCTV systems, plus sticking up more store and car park barriers. However, supermarkets can still be prosecuted for allowing trolleys to be abandoned.

Aside from the so-called 'street furniture' issue, trolleys aren't cheap. Retail starting prices for a trolley start at £90 plus. They also have scrap metal value.

Morrisons claims 43% of consumers find trolley locks a pain, with more than a quarter questioned claiming they don't always have change for them. Some may wonder at that - is a £1 coin that hard to get hold of?

Too busy to carry £1?

"Our nation is getting busier," says Morrisons boss Dalton Philips. "We have less free time than previous generations and customers have told us that they want a quicker shop. The removal of trolley locks is just one of the many improvements we are making to our store – to make for a faster and easier shopping trip."

Still, 1.5m shopping trolleys go missing every year in the UK. However the overall cost for retrieval isn't just shared by supermarkets - who pass those costs onto consumers via higher prices - but by council tax payers also. You could argue consumers, then, pay double for the problem.

Last year an App, Trolleywise, was introduced, letting the public report abandoned trolleys in the UK.

Still pricier than Lidl & Aldi

Whether the move will increase Morrisons sales remains to be seen. In the latest numbers from Kantar Worldpanel, Morrsions sales slumped 3.8% in the 12-week period to 22 June, though Asda and Sainsbury's sales both climbed.

Aldi and Lidl continued to hold market share. Tellingly, Morrisons recently acknowledged its own label brands were still 20% more expensive than Lidl and Aldi.