Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland has revealed that the grocer is well positioned to steer through the downturn and that it would also succeed when the economy starts to pick up.

Bolland told the Retail Week Conference that its concept of fresh and value has helped it create a niche.

He said the grocer has its own supply chain so can offer fresh food and can also deliver market-beating price promotions because it buys from its own farms.

“We can offer price promotions for a whole week in stores because if a promotion is working, we can get more supply in overnight. No other retailer can do that,” he said.

Bolland said that its Market Street concept could also be adapted when the economy starts to pick up.

“At the moment we are pushing the value button but we can easily push the product development button and bring in more luxury lines,” he said.

Bolland, who explained the turnaround of Morrisons to the audience, also said that working with Sir Ken Morrison was an honour.

“I wanted Ken to remain in his chair when I came in to make the changes to the business,” he said.

“We are very different and I wanted him to challenge me. He is a born retailer, having come from nothing to£1bn. There are probably 500 people in the world to have made£1bn and there are probably 500 people born every second so you can understand how different that makes him.”

He added: “They have different eyes, ears, see more, understand more. And they do nine out of ten things right. If you can work out what that tenth thing is you’re onto a winner.”