// Morrisons puts 1,300 McColl’s jobs at risk as it plans to shut more than 100 stores
// It will also speed up the conversion of McColl’s stores to Morrisons Daily with more than 1,000 set to be trading within the next two years
Morrisons has put around 1,300 McColl’s workers jobs at risk as the supermarket chain plans to close more than 100 stores.
The grocer, which rescued McColl’s from collapse earlier this year, has identified 132 stores that have “no realistic prospect of achieving a breakeven position in the medium term”.
Morrisons expects to shut the majority McColl’s stores in “an orderly fashion” over the remainder of the year.
The grocer will also accelerate its conversion of McColl’s stores to the Morrisons Daily format.
Before McColl’s collapsed earlier this year, there were plans in place to convert 450 McColl’s stores, but it now plans to switch the “substantial majority” of McColl’s c-stores to Morrisons Daily.
The pace of conversion will also quicken with all set to be complete within the next two to three years, which along with its growing franchise business, will bring the number of Morrisons Daily trading to more than 1,000 within two years.
Morrisons CEO David Potts said: “Today marks an important moment for the McColl’s business, colleagues and customers as we formally welcome the business and its colleagues into the Morrisons family.
“We are now able to begin the urgent journey to transform McColl’s into a viable, well-invested and growing operation.
“I’m confident that the McColl’s conversions, combined with the increased competitiveness that will be unlocked through investment and synergies, will make Morrisons a growing force in the important convenience market in the years to come.”
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Morrisons investment plan
The changes come just a week after Morrisons’ takeover of McColl’s was given the green light by the CMA, which accepted the grocer‘s offer to sell 28 stores from McColl’s existing estate.
Morrisons said that McColls had been “constrained by low levels of investment in both the stores and the supply chain” and vowed to invest significantly in the business over the next year.
It will also leverage its scale, expertise and food making operations to improve and simplify the convenience store business.
The conversion to the Morrisons Daily format will introduce an enhanced product range, including a broaded selection of branded and Morrisons own-label fresh foods, food to go and grocery.
The McColl’s stores that had switched to Morrisons Daily over the past three years had seen an average like-for-like sales increase of more than 20% when the store was refreshed and Morrisons own brand product was stocked.
The grocer said that by unlocking “significant synergies” in buying, logistics and goods not for resale, it coud make “signficant investment” in price in both Morrisons Daily and McColl’s stores to make them more competitive, attracting new customers and driving volumes.
Morrison convenience, online and wholesale director Joseph Sutton will take on responsibilty for McColls as interim CEO Karen Bird and CFO Giles David step down from the business.
Sutton said: “We have a great deal of work to do but there’s no question that McColl’s is a business with strong potential.
“I’m confident that the combination of McColl’s conveniently located stores and great colleagues together with Morrisons scale, brand, systems and fresh food expertise will lead to a transformation of the business.”