safeway one use

Morrisons believes it has sniffed out an opportunity to leverage its foodmaker credentials in the independent sector with the shock resurrection of the Safeway brand this week.

Safeway is coming back as a new range of products for wholesalers and independents.

The range of hundreds of products will be available to independents from early next year. The Grocer understands there will be some ambient lines, but the main focus on the range will be fresh and chilled, including bread, cheese, bacon and other processed meats.

Morrisons said the range would help independents access better quality products. “These are two capital-light ways of growing in the convenience food market,” said Morrisons chief executive David Potts. “By working with well-established partners and reviving the Safeway brand, we are making our products more accessible to more customers.”

A source close to the relaunch suggested Morrisons has spotted a gap in the market through its sale of its M Local c-store chain to My Local. At the time one of the reasons cited for My Local’s underperformance was a drop in the quality of the fresh and chilled offer compared with Morrisons.

The Grocer also understands Morrisons is in talks with potential customers in the convenience sector regarding stocking the range. It refused to discuss how these products would be distributed to independents and whether this would involve Palmer & Harvey, with whom it is working to pilot a new convenience food offer in 10 Rontec petrol stations.

The stores, branded Morrisons Daily, will be owned and operated by Rontec with four set to open before Christmas followed by a further six in January.

“We are constantly looking for ways in which we can improve the service and product range we offer to our customers and are pleased to be working together with Morrisons on this pilot,” said Rontec chief executive Gerald Ronson.

The retailer is still trialling a convenience forecourt offer with Motor Fuel Group, which be-gan with five stores last December. Up to 3,000 sq ft in size, the stores will sell branded and own-brand Morrisons products and have agreed a supply contract with Palmer & Harvey.

“We are very excited by the opportunity to work with Morrisons to develop Morrisons Daily with Rontec,” said P&H executive deputy chairman Chris Etherington.

“P&H has worked with the Rontec team for over 40 years and we are looking forward to a long, successful relationship with Morrisons.”