Marks and Spencer is to trial eight Simply Food outlets at BP Connect forecourt sites.

The new stores launch in the autumn and will sell M&S’s fresh food ranges, including ready meals, fresh produce and sandwiches, alongside BP’s Wild Bean Café, impulse products and Ultimate fuel offers. BP has just ended its eight-year tie-up with Safeway.
Marks and Spencer opens a new Simply Food store in high streets and railway stations about every 10 days, and the format was one of the high points in an otherwise gloomy financial report.

Although overall food sales were up 2.4% on last year to £3.5bn, they were down 2.6% on a like-for-like basis. However, the retailer said it would look to the Simply Food format stores to reverse this trend following the success of the 30 stores it opened last year. A further 20 Simply Food stores are expected to open in 2005-2006.