Morrisons has signalled its intention to expand its number of convenience branches after purchasing a host of Blockbuster stores.
The supermarket has acquired 49 outlets from the ailing video rental business' administrators Deloitte after it was plunged into financial trouble earlier in the year. Officials at the retailer now plan on converting these stores into Morrisons M shops boosting the Morrisons M local convenience estate. It follows on from a similar move by the company, which saw it purchase seven premises from camera shop Jessops when the latter fell into administration.
Morrisons' move onto the high street will allow it to compete with the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose which have all expanded from the larger stores to convenient city-centre outlets. Officials at Morrisons said that the transaction will mean that the company is able to gain access to a whole host of neighbourhood locations.
The retailer stated that it is looking to target the market in the south-east of England with at least 70 Morrisons M local stores due to be opened by the end of 2013. There will be a concentrated focus on London and the surrounding area where the supermarket has acquired a 100,000 sq ft multi-temperature distribution centre in Feltham, West London.
Officials stated that this will become the hub of a bespoke distribution network across the region allowing it to significantly improve its supply chain to stores around the UK.
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."
The beginning of 2013 has claimed a number of high street victims, alongside the likes of Blockbuster and Jessops, with HMV being the biggest name to go under, leading to the closure of a host of stores.