Morrisons has snapped up 49 former Blockbuster stores as it looks to speed up its push into convenience retailing.

It bought the stores from Blockbuster’s administrators Deloitte, and Morrisons said the deal will give it quick access to a significant number of high street and neighbourhood locations across the country, particularly in South East England.

Morrisons also said it hoped to covert the stores to its new Morrisons M local brand and have them trading by the end of the summer. The new name replaces the existing M Local fascia, in a move aimed at making it clearer to shoppers that these are Morrisons stores, particularly away from the retailer’s northern heartland.

Morrisons, which currently has just seven convenience stores, is planning to open at least 70 by the end of the year. Its main focus is on London and the South East, where it has bought a 100,000 sq ft multi-temperature distribution centre in Feltham. This is set to be the hub for a bespoke distribution network in the region and will open later this month.

“We are rolling out the Morrisons M local estate at pace this year and these acquisitions give us a kick start in securing a solid foothold in this sector,” said Morrisons convenience MD Gordon Mowat.

The move for the Blockbuster stores comes just two weeks after Morrisons bought seven stores from high street photographic chain Jessops which had also fallen into administration.

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