Supermarket group Morrisons said yesterday that a £1bn sale of investment properties had been put on ice because of the liquidity crisis. The Times

Finance director Richard Pennycook said the retailer had reached a stage where it was ready to invite offers from third parties, but negotiations had been hit by problems in the debt markets.

‘In the current environment, we have held back from the next step,’ he said. ‘We are under no pressure to undertake this move and we will only go ahead if it is in the best interests of shareholders,’ adding that Morrisons would keep the market under review.

Chairman Sir Ken Morrison said the group had plenty of other projects in hand and he was not concerned by the postponement of the property sale.

‘I don’t think it was ever a priority and I don’t think we have missed the boat,’ he said. ‘There are other ships passing and the property is still there.’