Stanley Morrice, former MD of Aberness Group, the Scottish Mace wholesale and retail business, and one of convenience retailing's highest profile figures, is launching a c-store and deli business in Scotland.

Morrice has bought McLeish's, a delicatessen and fishmonger with four stores in Dundee and a kitchen and distribution centre. He has also snapped up a 1,500 sq ft Scottish Co-op c-store in Aberdeenshire.

The four McLeish's stores will continue to operate as they do now, but Morrice said he planned to import the McLeish's retail offering, which includes a range of ethnic ready meals prepared by chefs, into the c-store, rebrand it McLeish's and run the joint-concept on a trial basis. If the trial was successful, he would roll out the concept - influenced by New York-style delis - to any stores acquired in the future.

He said: "I want to pile a deli and c-store together. I would look to have two stores up and running within six months. The first should be open by the end of August." The stores needed to be in busy locations, he added.

The pilot store would have a strong emphasis on chilled and fresh food, excluding fish, said Morrice.

He added that it would include a limited range of traditional grocery items and a strong baked goods section. He has approached JW Filshill and Cuisine de France, among others, to supply the store.

Morrice is currently a director of Scottish Enterprise Grampian and has 30 years' experience in retail. He retained his post at Aberness after it was acquired by Somerfield in 2004. He was tied into a contract that prevented him from launching retail ventures in grocery for two years. He left Aberness in June 2005 after Palmer & Harvey McLane acquired the rights to the Mace name.

As head of Aberness, Morrice claimed to have boosted sales by 50% and tripled profits.