Morrisons is embroiled in a planning dispute over what is likely to be its biggest store in Scotland at Granton, Edinburgh, and is now planning to sell its last remaining Safeway store, situated in Wimbledon.
The retailer is hoping to open a 90,000sq ft store as part of a major mixed-use development in the Scottish capital. However, it is having to draw up new plans after Edinburgh City Council rejected its original proposal following concerns about the size of the 559-space car park.
Councillor Lawrence Marshall claimed it was like “something from Los Angeles or Las Vegas”. Meanwhile, Morrisons has decided to sell its last Safeway store after a planning wrangle with Merton Council over changing the store’s sign from Safeway to Morrisons.
Confirming that Morrisons had put the Wimbledon store on the market, a spokesman said: “This is the first stage in the process and unfortunately we are unable to estimate the time period involved in finding a purchaser. In the meantime, the store will continue to trade as usual.”
Of its competitors, only Sainsbury would be barred under Office of Fair Trading rules from buying the store due to its Savacentre nearby.
Location planning consultants CACI said Waitrose would provide the best demographic fit with the location, but suggested that Asda and Tesco would also be keen to snap up the site.
Carl Bradbrook, senior consultant, CACI, said: “Morrisons actually has the worst demographic fit out of all the grocers, which may suggest why it is happy to get rid of the store.”

Sainsbury has started work on a new distribution centre in Dartford that will be one of its largest depots in the country. The 650,000 sq ft depot, which is being built by distribution company Prologis, is part of a 264-acre mixed-use regeneration project. The DC will not be complete until summer 2007, at which time Sainsbury will review its need for a depot in the south east.

Farmfoods is auctioning six of its outlets in a sale and leaseback scheme to offset spiralling business costs. The frozen food retailer, which tops The Grocer Top 50 list of independent retailers, has already sold an outlet in Bradford. Four other shops are in Scotland and one is in Hull. It aims to rent the properties back off the new owners.
Tesco is considering banning the book of murderer Ian Brady, which has been on sale on its web site, after it was criticised by campaigners. The revelation that it is offering the discounted book, The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and its Analysis, comes just a month after Tesco was lambasted for selling Nazi and anti-Semitic literature on its web site. The Forum of Private Business described Tesco’s sale of the book as “crassly tasteless”.
Julian Graves, the convenience store operator owned by Baugur, has launched a recommended £21.5m bid for Whittard of Chelsea through takeover vehicle Java. It claims to have undertakings or letters of intent to agree the offer from a number of shareholders, worth 61.04%.
Pepsico is poised to drop its sponsorship deal with the Football Association. Betting company Paddy Power has made Coca-Cola the favourite at 6-1 to be its replacement.
Farmfoods auction
Tesco may ban book
Sainsbury depot
bid for Whittard
sponsorship over?