Morrisons Tests New High-End C-Store Concept
Before Morrisons bought Safeway in
2003, it had 119 stores in the north
of England. After the purchase, Morrisons
extended to the length of the country
(plus Scotland), added 480 stores
and became the U.K.’s fourth largest
supermarket. At the time, The Guardian pointed out that "Safeway
is an upmarket retailer, while Morrisons operates on a pile-it-high and sell-it-cheap
purchase of Safeway increased Morrisons’ market share from 3.2 percent
to 12.4 percent.
As recent stories (and RetailWire discussions) show,
further expansion is now on the front burner.
The Daily Telegraph reports
that Chief Executive Dalton Philips expects to begin "a trial of a new
convenience format in the first half of next year" based on "past
success that was built on being different, in the offer we bring to customers,
and this will continue in any new areas for business development."
detail is provided by the Yorkshire Post, which covers the
The first of three M Local outlets, it says, will open "in
the affluent town of Ilkley as part of a drive to attract a more upmarket audience." Described
as "one of Yorkshire’s most wealthy areas," the idea is to "test
the concept with a wealthier audience than the average Morrisons store attracts."
"Many of the group’s upmarket ranges" will be stocked and
the store "designed to appeal to commuters coming home in the evening
who want to buy something for dinner" offering a focus on fresh food.
is keen, however, to ensure its convenience stores appeal to a wide demographic.
Julian Bailey, head of media relations, told the Yorkshire
think there is a gap in the market for a convenience store operator that sells
fresh food well. At the moment there isn’t the variety and quality of
fresh food that people are looking for."
Just-food deems the convenience sector, "fast growing … ripe
for growth — and the leading players are scrambling to build a presence in
the channel" but adds, "some industry watchers" reckon online
grocery could be considered more convenient. A story likely to continue giving.
- Morrisons clear to buy Safeway – The Guardian
- Morrisons plans convenience stores as outlook darkens for shoppers – Telegraph
- Morrisons goes upmarket in launch of convenience stores – Yorkshire
- Morrisons tests "M local" convenience store branding – Marketing
- Talking shop: what is the future of convenience – Just Food
Discussion Questions: How big is the opportunity for c-stores in upscale areas in the U.S.? How might c-stores in affluent areas differ from those in less prosperous neighborhoods?