Grocer Morrisons is due to open the first of a chain of convenience stores in the affluent Yorkshire town of Ilkley today.

The store, comprising about 3,000 sq ft of space, is expected to have a stronger focus on fresh food than most of Morrisons’ rivals’ c-stores, trading on the company’s strong reputation in fresh food.

The store, in a converted building formerly occupied by Bradford College, will trade under the M Local brand.
Ilkley is the first of three trial shops - the others will both be in Cheshire, in Wilmslow and Upton Rocks,Widnes.

Morrisons will then evaluate and refine the offer before embarking on a nationwide roll-out.

The market for convenience store locations is highly competitive because all the big grocers are keen to expand their networks of smaller stores.

Morrisons is understood to be interested in acquiring rival grocer Iceland in order to kick-start its ambitions to develop a nationwide convenience chain, which would otherwise take years without a major acquisition.

The c-store business is one of a raft of initiatives under Morrisons new chief executive Dalton Philips.

In the past year the grocer has also acquired online baby retailer Kiddicare, bought a stake in US grocery etailer

Fresh Direct, and embarked on a revamp of its store formats.