BRADFORD, England - Buoyed by a strong 8% profit gain, William Morrison Supermarkets has big expansion plans for its convenience store format, Bloomberg reports. The supermarket chain will add as many as 20 M Local convenience stores in 2012, with an additional 50 in 2013.
The stores will feature an updated fresh food concept, which boasts food counters, flowers and more than 350 fruits and vegetables. "Morrisonsï¿½ï¿½ finals look strong," said James Grzinic, an analyst with Jefferies International. The initiatives for growth are "taking shape."
The company tested its convenience store concepts and its "fresh labs" throughout grocery stores last year in northern England. "We know that 2012 will be tough," said CEO Dalton Philips. "The key thing is the fresh format. ï¿½ï¿½ These do fresh in a totally different way. Weï¿½ï¿½re taking that further with these new stores."
"This is a fragmented market and thereï¿½ï¿½s nearly 50,000 convenience stores out there and mainly in independent hands, and weï¿½ï¿½re doing something very different," said Philips. "Weï¿½ï¿½ve got 40 percent more space dedicated to fresh than you see elsewhere in the market and weï¿½ï¿½re saying convenience doesnï¿½ï¿½t have to be compromised."
Morrisons plans to put the majority of its spending on the new stores. The company may acquire convenience stores through acquisitions as well as new locations.