Morrisons has unveiled sweeping changes to its strategy with its first move into convenience and plans to sell groceries online.

Unveiling the retailer’s half-year results Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips also revealed it was planning a significant space review in its stores, editing the existing range in order to create more space for new ranges or services for shoppers and a stronger focus on own label. 

Morrisons is set to open three trial convenience stores in the first half of next year. Although he would not reveal the locations of the stores, Philips confirmed they would be smaller than 3,000 sq ft and would look to leverage Morrisons strength in fresh food. 

“The convenience market is growing at twice the rate of the grocery market,” he said. “But it has not been well served from a fresh point of view.”

Morrisons will begin a limited geographical online grocery trial in the second half of next year. Philips said it was still looking at which model it would adopt but suggested it may use two out of the four existing models: store picking, ghost stores, click and collect and large fulfilment centres.

Total sales for the six months to 1 August were up 9.1% to £8.1bn with like-for-like sales up 0.9%. CFO Richard Pennycook said he believed this was still just ahead of the market. Pre-tax profits fell to £412m from £449m although Philips said this was primarily down to an exceptional pension credit of £91m. 

Read more
Philips to set out Morrisons masterplan (6 September 2010)
Waitrose’s Hodgson is lured to Morrisons job (12 June 2010)
Morrisons’ momentum stalls with slow first quarter (6 May 2010)