Morrisons focuses on fresh in first M-local convenience store

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Morrisons has opened its first convenience store under the M-local brand and is putting the emphasis on fresh foods.

The Ilkley,Yorkshire, store opened at 1pm today and is the first of a three-store trial designed to evaluate the convenience offer, said Morrisons. Two further M-locals will be opened during the remainder of 2011.

Morrisons said it intends to make fresh food front and centre of its convenience offer, leveraging both its vertically integrated model and in-store bakers, fishmongers and butchers to produce an offer that stands out. 

Morrisons said key aspects of M-local are:

  • More emphasis on fresh food: a minimum 100 lines of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as strong presence for fresh meat, fish and bakery
  • Skilled craftsmen and women: most of the fresh food, including meat, fish and bread will be prepared by skilled craftsmen and women in local full-format Morrisons stores
  • A new approach to fresh food pricing: unlike other convenience stores, there is no price premium on fresh products. Morrisons said research indicates M-local fresh products will be 4-11% cheaper than other convenience stores
  • Ensuring freshness all day long: produce will move more quickly from preparation to sale than in other convenience stores because it will be prepared little and often at a nearby full format store

The first M-local convenience store is just under 3,000sq ft and is a former college building, which has been recently refitted. New fresh products in the store include coffee, orange juice, baked goods and a salad bar.

Dalton Philips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “Convenience is one of the fastest growing sectors of the market and developing our offer in this channel is a key part of our growth strategy. We believe convenient food doesn’t have to mean dull food. The M-local offer will be different: a greater emphasis on fresh food and, critically, the same competitive prices for fresh food in M-local as in Morrisons will really set us apart from the competition. I’m confident customers will find the M-local offer compelling and different and I look forward to hearing their feedback. “