Morrisons boss David Potts has handed back nearly £600,000 in bonuses after saying the business could have done better.

The supermarket’s chief executive took home £4.6m, the same amount as the boss of Tesco, a business which is more than three times the size of Morrisons.

Potts was in line for a £1.635m bonus, equivalent to nearly double his basic salary, after meeting sales, profit and personal targets. Instead he took home an annual bonus of nearly £1.04m on top of his £850,000 basic salary and nearly £2.5m in long-term share bonuses.

That compares to a £1.2m basic salary for Tesco boss, Dave Lewis, who received a £1.6m cash bonus as well as £1.3m from share plans and £300,000 pension payments last year. His pay packet fell from £5.1m a year before.

Together with executive director Trevor Strain, Potts handed back part of his annual bonus related to personal targets including launching new premium products and opening stores. They said they had decided to waive the pay out after “taking into consideration the overall performance of the group”.

The pair also turned down a fifth of the main part of their bonuses linked to financial performance as they admitted profits from wholesale, services and online trade had not improved as much as hoped.

Potts, a former Tesco executive who stepped in to try to rescue the Bradford-based retailer in 2015 after several years of decline, also turned down a 2% pay rise for this year.

As a result, Potts’ pay fell more than £1m on last year when he took home a total of £5.96m.

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Strain earned a total of £3.24m, down from £3.53m a year before.

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The pay outs come after the group increased pretax profits before one-offs by 8.6% to £406m in the year to February. But lower profits from property sales and other exceptional items totalling £86m meant overall profits were down nearly 16% to £320m.

The company has improved sales in established supermarkets by introducing more premium and takeaway foods as well as improving service and setting up a new relationship to sell online with Amazon.

Last year Morrisons faced a protest vote from shareholders over executive pay, with 15% of those who voted coming out against the company’s remuneration report. Another group of investors withheld their votes.



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