My Local, the group that bought Morrisons’ M Local convenience store estate, opened its doors today and promised that each store will stock more local produce and go out of its way to meet local customer needs.
Retail entrepreneur Mike Greene and his team worked throughout the night to stock up the 130 store estate, which includes 14 shops in Yorkshire in Leeds, Harrogate, Doncaster, Bridlington, Huddersfield, Ilkley, Scarborough, Sheffield, York and Steeton.
Mr Greene, who is backed by family investment fund investment office Greybull Capital, said My Local is looking to recruit another 190 staff and will recruit an additional 200 employees when it opens a further 10 stores that Morrisons had closed down.
Morrisons’ new management team decided to exit convenience when it became apparent that the stores were not making enough money.
However Mr Greene said the My Local stores will be profitable from day one.
“Obviously Morrisons made some mistakes, but we have got a great network of stores and great people working in them,” he said.
“But because convenience was a tiny focus for Morrisons, the stores weren’t individual to their catchment. They used a cookie cutter approach and didn’t take into account their catchment.”
All 2,300 staff, including Mr Greene and his management team, worked throughout the night to restock the stores.
This process will go on throughout the day in partnership with My Local’s new supplier Scunthorpe-based Nisa Retail.
Speaking at the flagship Ilkley store, which was the first M Local opened by Morrisons, Mr Greene said: “We took over the stores at midnight. Some stores are already open, some will open later today and some will open tomorrow. All stores will be open in the next 36 hours.
He estimates that My Local can operate the stores at a tenth of the cost that Morrisons had as Morrisons set the business up with the aim of opening 500 stores which cost tens of millions of pounds.
My Local is talking to sellers of convenience stores with a view to open more sites.
“We are acquisitive, but if we have 140 profitable sites I will be happy,” said Mr Greene.
My Local will source at least five per cent of its products from a 15 mile radius of each store.
“It could be fruit and vegetables, local ales, local snacks or non-food products for gifts. We are quite open,” said Mr Greene.
“We want to support the community that supports us. Within a month we’ll have signs saying: Are you a local supplier that wants to stock our stores?
“80 per cent of what convenience stores do is the same. It’s the other 20 per cent that makes it right - whether it’s local produce or what customers want. We asked every manager and their team what they would do. It’s the 20 per cent of products that personalises the store.”
Mr Greene’s senior team of seven people have between them a combined 180 years of convenience experience.