Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “We’re not aiming to be the biggest in non-food but what we do, we want to do better.”
The lines will predominantly be complementary to Morrisons’ food offer, including cookware and dinner party goods.
Morrisons reported like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, up 7.9 per cent in its full year to February 1 and turnover up 12 per cent to£14.5bn. Profits surged to£655m from£612m.
The grocer also wants to become a truly nationwide retailer. Bolland said: “Around 66 per cent of households in the UK live within 15 minutes’ drive time of our stores, so that leaves us with 34 per cent who still don’t have access to us.
“Also, TNS research has shown that around 40 per cent of households – about 10 million people – have not been in one of our refreshed stores so that is a huge opportunity.”
The grocer has piloted four smaller-format stores of between 11,000 and 18,000 sq ft – at Northallerton in North Yorkshire, Blandford in Dorset, Gorleston in Norfolk and Clifton in Bristol – with a full Market Street offer. “These are not convenience shops but they do offer convenience shopping,” said Bolland. “We wanted to create a smaller-format store concept to enable us to trade in town centres but stay true to our fresh Market Street concept.”
The grocer said it can now operate stores of between 10,000 and 40,000 sq ft and has earmarked around 100 sites where it could operate in. These exclude the 38 stores bought from Co-operative Group, which will add about 500,000 sq ft of space this year, and are mainly in the Southeast, Greater London and the Southwest.
Charles Stanley analyst Sam Hart said full-year results were broadly in line with expectations. Hart said: “Food price inflation will also have made a significant contribution to like-for-like sales growth, but is difficult to quantify as the company does not disclose its own internal measure of price inflation.”
Hart regards Morrisons’ shares as “a relative safe haven in the current environment” but said like-for-like sales growth is expected to slow as it comes up against tough comparatives, and recommends a hold.