Industry veteran Mike Greene is behind a deal to acquire Morrisons’ convenience store chain M Local.
A management team led by Greene and backed by Greybull Capital will acquire 140 M Local stores across the UK and re-open 10 stores that are currently closed. The stores will be branded ‘My Local’, with the first rebrand expected to take place within 6-7 weeks.
The deal safeguards the future of 2,300 existing store staff, while creating a further 200 new jobs.
Morrisons will retain five M Local stores, which are either on forecourts or will be converted to small supermarkets.It said it would incur a loss of around £30m. The supermarket group retains a guarantee on individual lease obligations, which could revert back to Morrisons if the new venture does not succeed.
Mike Greene said: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with Morrisons to acquire its convenience stores. The convenience sector continues to grow ahead of larger supermarkets as people’s hectic lifestyles increasingly lead them to favour more frequent, smaller and top-up shops.
“We are inheriting a set of good stores with highly trained teams of colleagues. With a new strategy tailored to the convenience sector, ‘My Local’ is confident of a profitable and sustainable future.”
He added: “We are committed to the people who already work in the stores and we want to grow the business with them. We believe that their potential, combined with the expertise of our leadership team, will give us a distinct advantage in the sector.”
David Potts, Morrisons CEO, said: “Convenience is a large and growing channel in UK food retailing. Morrisons learnt much from its entry into the market, but M Local was unable to scale. However, we remain open to other opportunities in convenience in the future.”
Mike Greene is a former chairman of the Association of Convenience Stores and former owner of HIM Research & Consulting.