Morrisons is buying six HMV stores and 49 Blockbuster stores from the companies’ administrators, Deloitte, as it begins an accelerated expansion of its convenience chain. The supermarket has also announced that its convenience stores will switch from the current M local name to a new Morrisons M local fascia
The purchase of the HMV and Blockbuster stores follows the retailer’s acquisition of seven Jessops stores earlier in the year. They give Morrisons quick access to a significant number of high street and neighbourhood locations across the country, particularly in South East England.
With these purchases, Morrisons looks set to exceed its target of operating 70 convenience stores by the end of 2013. Morrisons currently trades from 13 convenience stores across the UK.
It opened its first London Morrisons M local in Uxbridge Road last month (February) and has acquired a 100,000sq ft multi-temperature distribution centre in Feltham, West London. The DC (distribution centre) will become the hub of a bespoke distribution network in the region.
Gordon Mowat, managing director of Morrisons Convenience, said: “We are rolling out the Morrisons M local estate at pace this year and these acquisitions give us a kick start in securing a solid foothold in this key sector. The convenience market is growing as more people shop locally and we want to be in a position to take advantage of this. Morrisons M locals offer a differentiated fresh shopping experience with half the space dedicated to fresh food and scratch cooking all at great prices.”
Commenting on the Blockbuster deal, Lee Manning, partner Deloitte LLP, said: “This transaction represents a good deal for both the creditors of Blockbuster and Morrisons and we are pleased that these stores have found an alternative user that can create new employment. This group of stores is expected to be the first of a number of group and individual store transactions to arise from the Blockbuster portfolio given the significant levels of occupier interest for many of the assets.”
Morrisons said it will use its position as the largest fresh food manufacturer in the UK to put fresh food at the centre of its convenience offer. All Morrisons M locals will have over 100 lines of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as strong presence for fresh meat, fish and bakery.
Insight’s FOC 2013 store tour in London will include a visit to a new M local store format. The tour takes places on Friday, Sept 27, following the Insight NACS FOC2013 conference in London.