Morrisons is planning to roll out its fresh lab store format after a successful trial at its shop in Kirkstall, Leeds.

There are set to be a total of four fresh lab stores by the end of the year, with the format being tested to see if it does as well with southern shoppers as with those in the north.

The format seeks to increase the emphasis on fresh products and reinforce Morrisons’ strengths in categories such as meat and bread. It includes elements of retail theatre such as fresh produce displayed on ice, and 200 further produce lines.

It also introduces new categories such as children’s clothing using space released by the rationalisation of ambient lines, and new features such as a garden centre.

Sales in the Kirkstall store are up by over 10% overall, with deli sales up 31%, produce up 8%, butchery up 9% and flowers up 43%.

“We targeted 10% growth and we are where we need to be,” chief executive Dalton Philips told Retail Week. “We’ll be taking this to stores further south later this year, then roll it out next year.” The next stores for the treatment are understood to be St Albans and Swinton.

Philips was speaking as Morrisons opened the first store of its chain of convenience stores, M-Local. The store, at Ilkley in West Yorkshire, is serviced by a larger store in Keighley, allowing it to offer a wider range of fresh foods than would be normal in a convenience store.

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