Morrisons aims convenience stores at better-off

Morrisons' chief executive Dalton Philips
Morrisons' chief executive Dalton Philips
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SUPERMARKET chain Morrisons plans to open hundreds of convenience stores over the next few years as part of its expansion programme.

The retailer’s decision follows the successful trial of a convenience store in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, which was opened by chief executive Dalton Philips in July this year.

Morrisons wants to attract a wealthier audience than those who typically visit its city centre or out-of-town sites.

It plans to open more convenience stores – known as M-locals – in upmarket areas.

The convenience stores are aimed at people who need to pick up a few items on their way to and from work. They will focus on good-quality food with fresh meat and fish delivered every day, as well as fresh bread, cakes, pastries, salads, coffee and juices.

Richard Hodgson, Morrisons’ commercial director, told a Sunday newspaper “We’re pursuing an aggressive space strategy and convenience stores is at the heart of this.

“We want to open several hundred in the next few years and continue growing our market share.”

Yesterday a Morrisons spokesman said the company had “big ambitions” for its convenience stores.

The spokesman told the Yorkshire Post: “They are a format that we are looking to build on over the next couple of years and we will continue to keep you updated as we have further news.”

Last week, Morrisons said it planned to create more than 7,000 jobs next year as it continues its store expansion programme and develops its manufacturing and logistics arms.

The company said it will open 25 stores in 2012, which means it will hire more butchers, bakers and fishmongers.

Group human resources director Norman Pickavance said: “Despite the difficult economic conditions, Morrisons continues to have ambitious growth plans.”