Somerfield has opened its first store at a motorway service station at the Extra services on the M65 in Blackburn.
Somerfield said it was the first supermarket convenience store on a motorway in the UK.
The 2,700 sq ft pilot store was launched as part of a drive to ramp up Somerfield’s convenience retailing offer and extend the brand, said project director Richard Collins.
The store is open from 7am to 10pm daily and sells fresh foods, sweets, bake-off, news and snacks to go.
Beers, wines or spirits have been excluded from the mix, as it is illegal to sell licensed products at motorway service stations. The offer was modelled on Somerfield’s 27 joint venture forecourt stores with oil giant Total, Collins said.
Prices are the same as at Somerfield forecourts.
Collins said that he hoped the store would attract shoppers from a nearby housing estate as well as passing traffic from the motorway.
And he added that Somerfield planned to trial the concept for some time before deciding whether to open further outlets at other service stations.
Somerfield is also preparing to launch a franchise offer that is targeted at independent retailers at the Convenience Retailing Show in Birmingham later this month (The Grocer, January 31, 2004).
Retailers of stores of at least 1,500 sq ft with the potential to turn over at least £25,000 a week will be eligible to take up the franchise offer.
Marks and Spencer is also experimenting with motorway service outlets.
It opened a Simply Food store in at the Toddington services on the M1 last August.
Anne Bruce