Somerfield will move ahead quickly to introduce changes following its acquisition of Aberness, with plans to convert two trial stores (the Countesswells Road and Kintore stores - both about 2,000sq ft) to the Somerfield ‘Essentials’ brand within six weeks.
Somerfield said Aberness would benefit from Somerfield’s enhanced product ranges, including a comprehensive quality range of fresh and chilled foods, strong promotional package featuring the recently launched Somerfield Saver Card and its excellent supply chain.
Somerfield’s director of group development David Cheyne, a former commercial director of Alldays, will replace Stanley Morrice as the new
MD for Aberness. But operations director Graeme Hay and Morrice will remain an integral part of the team, said Cheyne, because of their expertise and knowledge of the Scottish market.
Morrice will become the business development director and will work with Aberness’ existing partners, including Morning Noon & Night, and work with Cheyne to grow the business both organically and through acquisitions.
Meanwhile Hay will work on the distribution side of the Aberness business and integrate it with Somerfield.
“We will keep the Mace brand and develop it, but will give the Mace franchisees the option to convert to Somerfield,” said Cheyne. Somerfield planned to use Aberness as a “catalyst” to grow the number of company-owned stores and franchised stores, he added.
Hay said: “Chilled and fresh are the most important areas of growth in convenience retailing. Like all c-stores we were struggling in this area.”
Somerfield refused to disclose how much it paid for Aberness but industry sources estimated it would be between £10m-£14m.
Aberness is ranked no 33 in The Grocer Top 50 independent retailers.
It also supplies a further 80 independent stores in Scotland, all under the Mace fascia, and the Morning Noon and Night chain of 50 stores.