Morrisons is to pilot its first standalone halal meat counter.

If the trial scheme at the refitted Preston North End store - which reopens on Monday (1 December) - is successful the retailer may introduce further concessions to other stores “where locally relevant.”

The Preston concession will be operated by Haji Baba, a family-run halal butcher with experience of running fresh halal meat counters in supermarkets including Asda, and ­mini-markets. The stand will be clearly branded Haji Baba.

Morrisons already sells pre-packed halal lines in some stores; the concession will offer a wider range of poultry, lamb, beef and mutton as well as prepared items such as burgers and sausages. The concession’s meat - which is produced without stunning, in accordance with Halal Monitoring Committee rules - will be sourced from outside the retailer’s vertical supply chain, a first for Morrisons.

All halal meat in the store will be clearly labelled, and Morrisons-branded fresh meat will continue to be non-halal.

Retailers including Tesco and Asda have offered halal concessions operated by third parties for a number of years. Industry insiders said such activity helped attract Muslim shoppers who might otherwise not buy meat from a major supermarket.

“We want to make our ranging as relevant as we can to the communities we serve,” said Morrisons world foods category manager Noor Ali. “Haji Baba are well known in the industry but, importantly, are trusted by customers who buy halal.”