The first franchise of a BP Connect with M&S Simply Food could open by the end of this year. BP Connect had found an independent franchisee and hoped to push this forward soon, said Karen Hubbard, UK convenience director. Speaking at a Future of International Convenience Retailing conference, Hubbard said BP Connect had already opened five BP Connect with Wild Bean Café franchises this year, which were performing well.

BP Connect hoped to replicate this with Simply Food. However, plans to open further company-owned BP Connect with M&S Simply Food stores were being scaled back, she added.

“We will have 150 BP Connect/M&S Simply Food stores open by the end of next year,” Hubbard said. “We had aimed for 200 stores but the offer does not work in all locations.” BP Connect had also ironed out teething problems created by combining BP Connect and Simply Food, she added.

M&S customers were not used to brands, cigarettes or magazines, so BP Connect had run advertising this year to highlight the offer. BP Connect was also set to roll out further standalone Wild Bean Cafés following the opening of the first standalone offer in July in Portsmouth.