From market stall to superstore, read all about Morrisons history

About Morrisons: freshness, service and value

We are proud to be the Yorkshire food retailer serving customers across the UK over almost 500 stores and an online home delivery service.

Our business is mainly food & grocery and, uniquely, we source & process most of the fresh food that we sell through our own manufacturing facilities. It gives us close control over provenance & quality as do the number of committed and trained professionals in our stores who prepare our food for our customers. We have more skilled colleagues preparing food in store than any other retailer. 

Every week, 11 million customers pass through our doors and over 110,000 colleagues across the business work hard each day to deliver great service to them. We cover more than 11 million households with our Morrisons.com service. With competitive, permanently low prices we are committed to helping our customers save money every day.

Take a look at over 100 years of supermarket history below.

Sir Ken Morrison 1931 - 2017

Our Market Street is the legacy that Sir Ken leaves. It was his innovation and really sets us apart. Our customers love it because they know they'll get expertly prepared produce and good sound advice on our Butchery, Fishmongers, Delicatessen, and great fresh instore produced Bakery and Cake Shop counters.


From Bradford market stall to the UK’s 4th largest supermarket chain

1899-

Stall opens in Bradford Market

Egg and butter merchant William Morrison begins his business, set to become the company we know today.

1931-

Sir Ken Morrison was born in Bradford

1952-

Sir Ken Morrison took over

Sir Ken Morrison, aged 21, took over the small group of Bradford market stalls from his father.

1958-

First town-centre shop opens

The first shop is opened with three checkouts, it is the only store in Bradford to offer self-service and to have prices on its products.

1961-

First supermarket opens

Sir Ken opens his first supermarket in Bradford, 'Victoria', selling fresh meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and other provisions, with free parking available.

1967-

Morrisons becomes a public company

Ongoing expansion and plans for further growth lead the company to go public. The share offer is 174 times over-subscribed as more than 80,000 investors try to purchase shares.

1971-

New Head Office in Bradford

The Hilmore House office, warehouse and factory complex opens in Bradford.

1976-

Cutler Heights opens

Morrisons first vegetable packing site opens at Cutler Heights in Bradford.

1978-

Takeover of Whelan Discount stores

Following the takeover of Whelan Stores, Morrisons operates in Lancashire for the first time.

1980-

Fresh food production begins

Sir Ken opens Farmers Boy - a purpose-built fresh food factory that trades as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Morrisons.

1988-

New purpose-built distribution centre

The first Morrisons distribution centre, Wakefield 41 (situated close to the M1 motorway), goes into operation.

1991-

Vertical integration

Woodheads, one of the best known names in the British meat industry becomes one of our first vertically integrated suppliers.

1997-

Gadbrook Opens

A second distribution centre called Gadbrook in Northwich opens.

1999-

100th Store Opens

We open our 100th store in Nelson and our first store in the South - Erith. We open a food processing factory called Farmers Boy at Greenside.

2000-

Ken is knighted

Ken Morrison is knighted for services to the retailing industry

2001-

Morrisons joins FTSE 100

Following a 35 year record of sales and profit growth since going public in 1967, Morrisons joins the FTSE 100 for the first time in April of this year.

2004-

Safeway becomes part of the Morrisons family

Morrisons acquires Safeway and opens its first store in Scotland in Kilmarnock, and our first southern produce manufacturing site opens in Thrapston, Northamptonshire.

2005-

Morrisons extends manufacturing estate

We extend our manufacturing estate in Rathbones Bakery, Rushden produce and Turriff abattoir.

2008-

Sir Ken Morrison steps down as chairman

Morrisons become the first retailer to win all three industry awards on one year ( Grocer Gold, Retail Industry Awards, Retail Week Awards ) and after 55 years of service, Sir Ken Morrison retires after being honoured with an award for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Retail’ at the Retail Week Awards. Spalding abattoir also becomes part of Morrisons and offers 100% British meat.

2011-

Morrisons Flowerworld opens

Morrisons Flowerworld in Derby opens, where our trained florists make our fresh flower bouquets. Worsley produce packing site opens and Willow Green Distribution Centre opens.

2012-

Meat processing site in Winsford acquired

We buy Winsford, our meat processing site in Cheshire to make our manufacturing stronger and we start manufacturing from our own seafood site in Grimsby.

2013-

Morrisons Nutmeg launches

Morrisons Nutmeg children's clothing range launches. Morrisons wins 'Employer of the Year' for the fourth time in a row at The Grocer’s Gold Awards ceremony.

2014-

Online food deliveries begin

Using technology developed by Ocado, Morrisons launches its much-anticipated online food delivery service and begins a national roll-out starting with homes across the Midlands.

2016-

Amazon partnership extension

Amazon and Morrisons extend partnership to launch same day delivery service.

2016-

Free From range extended

Responded to market demand and extends Free From range, however we now sell over 400 products in our stores.

2016-

Second seafood processing site opens at Grimsby Lakeside

To cope with the growing demand for our quality, fresh, and pre-packed seafood, we opened Grimsby Lakeside, our second seafood processing site, which is three times the size of our first site Pegasus Way and processes over 10,000 tonnes of salmon a year.

2016-

Retailer of the Year award winners

We win Meat and Fish retailer of the year (Supermeat & Fish Awards), In store Bakery retailer of the year (Bakery Industry Awards).

2016-

Rathbones Bakery fire

On 3rd July a Fire broke out on one of the production lines at our Rathbones Bakery. In an amazing turnaround, less than three days later, the first loaf of bread came off the production line and seven days later is was business as usual and we were back to delivering 2.5 millions leave and rolls each week to stores.

2017-

Carnoustie potato packing plant opens

Morrisons add a new potato packing plant to our manufacturing sites with our Carnoustie site in Scotland, where we sort over 10 different varieties of potatoes from baby potatoes all the way to Maris Pipers.