CONVENIENCE ‘store wars’ have broken out in Yorkshire as regionally-based supermarket chain Morrisons launches its own small store chain to challenge its rivals.
Britain’s major supermarket chains, including Sainsbury, the Co-op and Tesco, are battling for their slice of the convenience store market.
Tesco, for example, is building its Tesco Express convenience store chain.
It already operates eight of the convenience stores in Leeds and one in Wakefield.
Morrison has begun its fightback with the launch of its own convenience store chain – M-local.
Its first M-local has opened in the up-market town of Ilkley.
The store is the first of a three- store trial – two more M-locals will be opened later this year.
Morrisons will use its reputation for fresh food as a centre-piece of its trial, alongside the local bakery, fishmonger’s and butcher’s which have proved successful in its supermarkets.
It also plans to be challenging on pricing.
The first M-local convenience store is just under 3,000 sq ft and is a former college building which has been recently refitted.
Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips 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 that 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 that customers will find the M-local offer compelling and different and I look forward to hearing their feedback.”
Morrisons is lagging behind some of its major competitors in the development of convenience stores.
Morrisons, however, is used to taking on its bigger rivals, and the firm’s development is seen as one of Yorkshire’s greatest retail success stories, thanks mainly to its former chairman Sir Kenneth Morrison, who retired in 2008.
The firm began in 1899 when merchant William Morrison opened a stall on Bradford market.