The headlines today are dominated by the news that Sir Ken Morrison, founder of Morrisons and retail pioneer, has died.

One of the most respected retailers in the post-war era, Sir Ken took Morrisons from a Bradford market stall run by his father to one of the big four supermarkets, remaining as chairman until 2008.

Today, the industry paid tribute.

“He was an inspirational leader and the driving force behind Morrisons for over half a century,” said Morrisons chairman Andrew Higginson.

“His legacy is evident every day and in every aspect of our business. [His] is an outstanding achievement in the history of UK business.”

Sir Ken was famed for his plain-speaking ways – it is said that he abhorred gaps on shelves so much that he placed £10 notes in them, gruffly telling staff, “that’s what you’re costing me, lad” – but today his peers have only good words to say about him.

“He was the nicest, kindest CEO I’ve ever met, and a man of his word,” said Iceland founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker. “A handshake was his bond.”

Quotes of the day

We couldn’t pick just one of Sir Ken’s sparklers so here is a selection:

On management style:

“If you mop the floor, or you’re the managing director, a nice pat on the head goes down well occasionally… Just as a kick up the backside is required sometimes.”

On the simple business of retailing:

“It’s just taking money off people, and giving them something in return.”

On home delivery:

“I started my career doing that [on a bicycle] and I don’t intend to do it again.”

Today in numbers


The number of stores in Morrisons’ network when Sir Ken retired in 2008

Becky Waller-Davies, Fashion Reporter