Safeway steams ahead with hypermarket openings

Safeway is to ramp up hypermarket openings in the next few years as it strives for greater scale and seeks an increase in customer spend.

The grocer will open its first 'third generation' megastores next year after cutting the cost of reformatting suitable stores to hypermarkets by£2 million to£8 million.

Safeway has been granted planning permission to extend 24 stores into megastores and applied for permission for a further 29 extensions. Safeway has five hypermarkets at present.

Chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez said that Safeway will focus on increasing basket size at the grocer after concentrating on increasing the number of transactions in the last couple of years.

Last week, the grocer announced a 4 per cent rise in interim profit before tax and exceptional items to£188 million. Like-for-like sales climbed by 2 per cent.