Morrisons set for London store roll-out after Blockbuster deal

16:07 17 February 2013

The chain has gone into administration. File picture: PA Wire

The chain has gone into administration. File picture: PA Wire

Morrisons has bought 49 stores from failed rental chain Blockbuster to expand its convenience business in London and the south east.

The deal will not prevent any of the job cuts already announced by administrators Deloitte, but Morrisons said it hopes to create around 1,000 jobs as it reopens the shops as convenience stores.

The UK’s fourth-biggest grocer also announced the rebranding of its M Local convenience business to Morrisons M local.

Today’s announcement - for an undisclosed sum - follows the recent acquisition of seven stores from collapsed camera retailer Jessops as Morrisons takes advantage of quick access to high street locations to build up its convenience chain.

It hopes to have at least 70 convenience stores by the end of 2013, while it is expected to announce the latest move towards a full-scale online food delivery service alongside its annual results on March 14.

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 kickstart 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 stores bought are among the 164 stores earmarked for closure by Deloitte last week, which threatens around 800 jobs and comes on top of the 168 shop closures and 760 job cuts already announced.

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