Supermarket Morrisons’ convenience store chain “M local” is being rebranded, after being bought out by an external investor.
Morrisons has sold 140 out of 145 of its “M local” convenience stores to Greybull Capital LLP, headed by entrepreneur Mike Greene.
A new name
The chain has been sold at a cost of £25 million, and is being renamed “My local”.
Alongside the name change, the sale will see a new logo for the chain of small stores, which dissociates itself from the Morrisons “M local” branding.
A spokesperson on the supermarket’s Board says: “Today’s sale announcement represents the best solution for Morrisons and will enable future investment to be focused on core supermarkets.”
The 140 stores to be sold saw a recorded loss of £36 million in 2014/2015.
“Unable to scale”
David Potts, CEO at Morrisons, says: “Convenience is a large and growing channel in UK food retailing. Morrisons learnt much from its entry into the market, but M local was unable to scale.”
Potts adds that the supermarket “remains open” to other opportunities in convenience stores in the future. “I would like to thank all the Morrisons colleagues for their hard work and dedication to M local,” he says.
The 2,300 staff working in these stores will be kept on, reports the BBC. The five convenience stores retained by Morrisons will either be turned into small supermarkets, or kept on petrol forecourts.
Could revert to Morrisons branding
The supermarket chain expects to make an initial loss on sale of roughly £30 million, but adds that it will keep a guarantee on “individual leases” – meaning certain chains could go back to being Morrisons-branded stores if the new business does not succeed.
The sale comes as the supermarket chain is also set to close 11 supermarket stores, following a drop in half-yearly profit from £239 million in 2014 to £126 million in 2015.
It is unconfirmed whether the new “My local” stores will undergo an interior redesign. The new store branding is yet to roll out.