Supermarket chain WM Morrisons finished 2008 in good health, it reported today in its latest trading statement. The company increased sales and remains on-track with a strategic review and overhaul of the organisation which touches every aspect of the business from IT to shop floors and logistics.

WM Morrisons recorded a rise in like-for-like sales of 8.2 per cent, a larger rise than its main rivals Sainsbury’s and Tesco. In the six weeks leading to 4 January, 2009 total sales other than car fuel was up by 9.4 per cent.

CEO Marc Bolland said the company had attracted 2.2 million extra customers and that he believed the improvements were down to both an increased focus on fresh foods and the Optimisation Plan to renew business processes and IT.

WM Morrisons has committed £450 million to the Optimisation Plan which is seeing the presentation of stores, branding and its fleet of trucks renewed. The IT department is central to the Optimisation Plan as it moves the entire company onto a single Oracle infrastructure.

IT director Garry Barr is responsible for a £110m budget as part of the Optimisation Plan. Morrisons is integrating an Oracle platform, including its E-Business Suite, Oracle Siebel CRM, identity management, Fusion, branding and merchandising systems.

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