What do you get if you cross a supermarket chain and Doc Emmett Brown, the mad but genius scientist from Back to the Future who invested time travelling Delorean?

If you’d attended the Morrisons press conference this morning, your answer would be Morrisons CEO Dalton Philips.

For the chain's new boss came across as something of a mad scientist when he revealed his plans for the business he joined six months ago.

All Philips needed was a Bunsen burner and a white coat as he revealed the launch of four ‘labs’. These ‘labs’ are in fact stores, which he will use to test new concepts.

There’s going to be a ‘space lab’ where 5%-15% of a store will be used to test new products and ranges; a ‘revitalise lab’ to test what future stores could look like; a ‘fresh lab’ to trial new ways of selling fresh produce; and a ‘productivity lab’ to improve processes for staff, such as putting bread in crates so that they can be put on shelf quicker.

“I am not a risk taker but I am passionate about experimenting,” he told journalists. “I’m going to take one store and really challenge conventions through it. You can really challenge yourself in a lab.”

The labs will be a fascinating concept, and one that The Grocer will be following with interest. But his real stand-out revelations were Morrisons’ long-awaited move into online, and a surprise entry into the convenience sector.

Both are very tough markets. Morrisons is the only one of the big four not to have entered cyber space and trials will start next year. With only Tesco understood to be making any real money from online, Philips was understandably quick to point out that any internet operation would have to be profitable.

Convenience makes sense for a chain that moved into smaller supermarkets last year when it acquired 38 stores from The Co-operative Group. Three trial stores are planned next year, with Philips insisting there is more than enough room for another entrant, with the mults only accounting for 6% of the c-store sector.

It will meet formidable competition in the market. Spar, Budgens, Londis, Martin McColl, Booker’s Premier, Nisa-Today’s Nisa Local, Costcutter… the list goes on.

So it seems Philips has hit the ground running, however just wait till he hits 88mph and then we’ll really see what this baby can do.