Supermarket chain Morrisons has rubbished rumours that it is seeking new pastures and abandoning its core customer base with the announcement of new convenience stores across the UK branded as M.
Morrisons is also expanding its online service offerings with Morrisons Cellar wine service, in direct competition to Majestic Wine, marking its entry into e-commerce for the first time. Morrisons plans to launch 20 M Local stores by the end of 2012 and another 50 in 2013 after testing waters in Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham.
Six of the 20 stores will be based in London, with plans underway for a new distribution centre in west London to support the stores as well. Morrisons, the fourth largest supermarket chain is currently lagging behind rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s in the evolving convenience market format. Hence, Morrisons has plunged its teeth into London to look to increase its market share.
Morrisons already operates 45 fresh format stores and intends to increase this number to more than 100 by the end of January 2013, in an effort to accelerate its sales.
Dalton Philips, Morrisons’ chief executive has claimed that these convenience stores will be cheaper than rivals, while selling goods for the same price that it does in its supermarkets situated away from town.
Morrisons has had to deal with disapproval from some quarters for becoming too sophisticated while selling fancy vegetables and unusual meats rather than concentrating on keeping the costs down. In the company’s defence, Philips said, “It doesn’t make much sense to me. We have been taking down the walls in the stores so people can see our bakers and butchers at work. Our value position has never been better. We are promoting fresh food.”
Do you like Morrisons? Do you think this new format will work in its favour to take on its rivals Tesco and Sainsbury’s?