Boots turns to Musgrave after Waitrose trial flops

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Boots has begun a 12-month trial with Musgrave as it looks to expand into the convenience food market.

Starting today, Musgrave’s food products will be sold in 11 Boots stores across England. The trial includes Musgrave’s mid-tier SuperValu own label range and comes after talks began in June over a tie-up.

Previously, Boots listed Waitrose products in a two-way trial that began in 2010. But the trial ended earlier this year, with Boots phasing out the Waitrose products from its shelves during the summer.

“The trial with Waitrose did not meet the commercial expectations of either partner but provided us with valuable insight into how we can better meet the growing needs of our customers and has enabled us to gather learnings for this pilot,” a spokesman for Boots said.

“Musgrave works specifically in the convenience food market and our learnings from the Waitrose trial taught us that this is what our customers want.”

The new expanded convenience food offer would cater for three shopping ‘missions’, Boots said: food to go, food for later that night and fresh top-up.

The pilots will take two different formats. A smaller format will sell ready meals, fruit, vegetables, salad and desserts as well as tea, coffee and bakery items. A ‘maxi’ format in other stores will stock a wider range of those products, in addition to deli, dairy, meat, fish, breakfast, store cupboard essentials and ready-to-cook ranges.

“This trial builds on our own extended food offer of Shapers and Delicious, while exploring how we can deliver even greater choice and convenience for our customers through a broader food offering,” said Alliance Boots health & beauty boss Alex Gourlay.

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