Morrisons is looking to open more small to medium-sized supermarkets, it has emerged - even if it doesn't snap up any of the Somerfield estate.
Speaking as the retailer recorded a 7% increase in first quarter like-for-like sales, chief executive Marc Bolland said Morrisons would be interested in individual sites should the Co-operative Group, currently sole bidder for Somerfield, choose to sell any stores on completing a deal.
"We'd look at stores that made sense for us, if they were at the right price and in the right location," he said.
Meanwhile, group trading director Martyn Jones said Morrisons was hoping to develop more stores in the region of 20,000 sq ft, around the same size as much of the Somerfield estate.
He said that having inherited many similar-sized stores from Safeway, Morrisons was now confident it could successfully operate in the arena. However, he ruled out a move into convenience formats. Morrisons plans to open eight stores in the next year boosting its selling space to 1m sq ft.
This week Morrisons slashed 2,000 prices across grocery, health and beauty, and home and leisure.
"This is about giving great value on the whole shopping basket, rather than just helping with parts of it," said Jones.
"Customers are feeling the pinch and disposable income is tight so we're giving a boost to their household budget.
"We want to make sure all our customers benefit from this and we're determined to carry on giving great value and savings."