Somerfield’s business strategy will move it firmly into convenience and small store formats with Somerfield stores downsized and Kwik Save re-branded in the southeast to strengthen the portfolio.

Speaking at the company’s AGM in Bristol on Wednesday chief executive Steve Back told shareholders: “We want to be the leading small store format - the leading local fresh and chilled convenience retailer in the heart of the neighbourhood. Kwik Save is the value alternative.”

The strategy for the discount stores began with the exit from Scotland, and now southeast sites are to be converted to Somerfield - 22 have so far been rebranded.

35 Kwik Save and 10 Somerfield sites were closed this year and further three were downsized, and for Somerfield stores a four-category guide has been introduced.

Stores now to fall into small Essentials, mid-size Market Fresh, or larger - but no more than 12,000sq ft - Progressive and Value formats.

The CE said the group would continue to expand into the convenience sector, but insisted it would not be drawn into paying the “over the top” prices - it now has 157 c-stores and in recent acquisitions paid a store average of £328k for Aberness and £236k for Osprey forecourts.

This week Somerfield also announced first quarter like-for-like sales up
1.1% despite weak food sales in July and August with Somerfield up 1.3% and Kwik Save up 1.0%.