// Morrisons puts 1,300 McColl jobs at risk as it plans to close more than 100 stores
// It will also accelerate the conversion of McColl’s stores to Morrisons Daily with more than 1,000 set to operate in the next two years.
Morrisons has put around 1,300 McColl workers’ jobs at risk as supermarket chain plans to close more than 100 stores.
The shopkeeper, who rescued McColl’s from collapse earlier this year, has identified 132 stores that “have no realistic prospect of reaching a break-even position in the medium term.”
Morrisons expects to close most McColl’s stores in an “orderly” manner for the rest of the year.
The grocer will also speed up the conversion of McColl’s stores to the Morrisons Daily format.
Before McColl’s collapsed earlier this year, there were plans to convert 450 McColl’s stores, but now it plans to switch the “substantial majority” of McColl’s convenience stores to Morrisons Daily.
The pace of conversion will also accelerate with everything set to be completed in the next two to three years, which together with its growing franchise business, will bring Morrisons’ number of daily transactions to more than 1,000 within two years.
Morrisons CEO David Potts said: “Today marks an important moment for the company, colleagues and customers at McColl’s as we formally welcome the company and its colleagues to the morrison family.
“Now we can begin the urgent journey to transform McColl’s into a viable, well-invested and growing operation.
“I am confident that the McColl conversions, combined with the increased competitiveness that will be unlocked through investment and synergies, will make morrison a growing force in the important convenience market in the years to come.”
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Morrison Investment Plan
The changes come just a week after the CMA gave the green light to Morrisons’ takeover of McColl’s, which accepted the grocer’s offer to sell 28 stores of the existing McColl estate.
Morrisons said McColls had been “constrained by low levels of investment both in stores and in the supply chain” and promised to invest significantly in the business over the next year.
It will also leverage its scale, experience and food manufacturing operations to enhance and simplify the convenience store business.
The conversion to the Morrisons Daily format will introduce an enhanced range of products, including a wider selection of branded products and morrison own brand fresh food, takeout and groceries.
McColl’s stores that had switched to Morrisons Daily in the past three years had seen an average comparable sales increase of more than 20% when the store was renovated and stocked with Morrisons own-brand product.
The grocer said that by unlocking “significant synergies” in purchasing, logistics and goods not for resale, he could make a “significant investment” in price at both Morrisons Daily and McColl’s stores to make them more competitive, attracting new customers and driving volumes.
Morrison’s wholesale, online and convenience director Joseph Sutton will take over responsibility for McColls when interim chief executive Karen Bird and chief financial officer Giles David resign from the company.
Sutton said, “We have a lot of work to do, but there is no doubt that McColl’s is a business with great potential.
“I’m sure the combination of conveniently located McColl stores and great colleagues along with morrison scale, brand, systems and fresh food expertise will lead to business transformation.”