Morrisons has appointed a former Apple executive as head of its online food business, due to launch next year. 

As managing director for for food, Simon Thompson (pictured) will head up a team that is currently working with the US online grocer, FreshDirect, in which Morrisons acquired a stake in March, to develop an online food business for the UK supermarket.

Thompson joins from Apple, where he had roles including worldwide strategy and customer experience director and general manager of the Apple online store in EMEA and India.

His prior experience also includes European managing director at, marketing director at Motorola and marketing director at Honda. He is also technically trained, having studied computer science at DeMontford University.

Morrisons announced the appointment in its interim results for the half-year to 31 July 2011.

The company reported a 7.4 percent increase in turnover from £8.1 billion to £8.7 billion this year. Its pre-tax profit also rose 8.9 percent from £412 million to £449 million.

In addition, Morrisons said that the integration of UK-based baby goods retailer Kiddicare is “proceeding well”, after the acquisition in February.

The company aims to install kiosks, to enable Morrisons customers to order Kiddicare products online, in 28 of its stores by the end of the third quarter. It will roll these out further when the concept has been fully-tested.

The Kiddicare systems will also be the basis for Morrison’s non-food online business, which is also due for launch next year.

During the half-year to July, Morrisons also finished rolling out its EPoS till system to around 9,500 tills, installed a fully-integrated system in three of its manufacturing sites and started a new product masterfile within its trading operations.

In terms of Morrisons’ IT refresh, the company said that its six-year, £310 million programme with Oracle to replace all its IT systems is scheduled to be completed in 2013/14. It expects this programme to deliver £100 million of annual cost savings in the year of completion.