Morrisons has added another six sites for conversion to its M local convenience format, with the acquisition of six stores from the failed home entertainment chain HMV. This brings the number of stores acquired in recent weeks to 62, ensuring that the retailer will easily exceed its target of 70 convenience stores by the end of 2013. Morrisons already has 13 M local stores open.
Locations widely scattered
The six HMV stores are located in Chesterfield, Enfield, Lancaster, Newbury, Scarborough and Wood Green, London. Though widely dispersed, these locations are all established Morrisons trading catchments; a critical consideration given the retailer's model for servicing its convenience stores, with supply piggy-backed on superstore 'parent' outlets (at least for those stores outside London).
Ongoing focus on London and the South-East
Having opened its first London convenience store earlier this week in Ealing, the HMV acquisition gives Morrisons three further South-East sites (including two in London suburbs). Morrisons has made it clear that the South-East will be a particular focus for upscaling its convenience portfolio. The company is even incentivising employees to help in the search for sites, with £500 being offered to colleagues who identify properties successfully launched as M locals.
Targeting rapid conversion
Morrisons will seek to get the new stores up and running as M locals "as soon as we can". Currently it aims to complete the conversion of the stores acquired from Blockbuster (49) and Jessops (7) by the end of the summer.