The newly-created My Local chain will operate in the space between the independents and multiples, with an emphasis on local and fresh, chief executive Mike Greene has told C-Store.
Greene headed a recent buyout of Morrisons’ 140-strong M Local c-store chain, with the multiple incurring a loss of around £30m. The stores will be relaunched as My Local on 26 October and will be supplied by Nisa in a five-year deal worth up to £1bn.
“We’ll catch the entrepreneurialism of independents and the discipline of the multiples,” he said. “Some independents don’t move quickly enough, and don’t invest in fresh, whereas we want to be obsessive with fresh.”
He added that Morrisons gave too much space to fresh, meaning it often looked under-stocked, whereas he wanted to make the category look “abundant”. “There will be no major changes, but a rebalance of categories,” he added.
In addition every store will source 5% of their range from local suppliers within a 15 mile radius, and each will support a charity within one mile through localgiving.com, dovetailing with Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally scheme.
“We will be like an independent chain, in that we’re not affected by share price or interested in what the national newspapers say, and will respond to local needs,” he added.
Greene said he would drive profit by raising prices to Co-op levels. “Most products at M Local are at supermarket prices - the Oxford Street store had products that were 50% cheaper than the store next door. So we will slightly raise the prices, to Co-op levels, meaning about 2% extra margin. And we will not be taking stores which were an anchor because they have been closed.”
M Local also struggled because Morrisons’ distribution centre was set up for more than 500 stores, “so it wasn’t profitable with the number of M Local stores it operated”.
Nisa was the best choice as suppliers as they have the “best fresh credentials”, while the Heritage range offered an extensive range and was not attached to a symbol group, Greene said.