Morrisons’ plans to expand in the convenience store sector received a jump-start this week after it awarded Wincanton a five-year contract to operate its first dedicated convenience distribution centre in London.

The multi-million pound contract is for combined warehouse and transport operations, supported by Wincanton’s system platform.
Morrisons recently announced plans to open 20 convenience stores across the UK by the end of 2012, and 70 stores in the next two years, following successful trials of its M Local format.

According to Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips, the three stores in Bradford, Manchester and Birmingham are performing “ahead of expectations”. The c-store format stores focus on fresh food and scratch cooking.

The 100,000 sq ft cross-dock distribution centre will open in Feltham, West London, early next year. Up until now M Local outlets have been supplied directly from nearby supermarkets.

Wincanton chief Eric Born said: “The award of this important contract with Morrisons is a clear sign that the market values Wincanton’s expertise in providing turnkey solutions to leading retailers.”We have always believed that the UK retail sector offers Wincanton real opportunities to broaden our service offering and grow our market share. Today’s announcement further endorses that belief and highlights the enormous potential that exists for the group.”