January’s host of high street casualties could open the door to supermarket expansion.
A number of supermarket chains are believed to be circling HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops stores, as they seek to boost their convenience estates.
The entertainment retailer HMV, which was established in 1921, had 223 stores when it collapsed into administration in mid-January. It was closely followed by Blockbuster which is to close 129 stores, and photographic retailer Jessops, which had 187 stores.
Administrator Deloitte has already received a number of expressions of interest from potential bidders for the HMV stores, with Morrisons thought to be interested in up to 20 high street sites. It is also rumoured to be looking at Blockbuster stores.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s are also thought to be looking at some of the HMV sites.
Christie + Co director and head of retail Steve Rodell said a number of the larger sites could prove attractive to the supermarkets, so long as they had good delivery access, parking, configuration and rents.
However, independent retailers interested in the sites were in danger of being overlooked, he warned.
“The Blockbuster sites have already been reviewed by the supermarkets and many of these will be in locations that might suit convenience store use. However, it is likely that the vendors would prefer to deal with established organisations with the infrastructure to take on these stores, rather than smaller independents,” he said.
Morrisons is actively looking to boost its M Local convenience store estate.
Revealing a “disappointing” set of Christmas trading results, Morrisons chief executive officer Dalton Philips said it planned to “accelerate the rollout programme” of its convenience channel in 2013/14.