The new Morrisons supermarket in north-west London is all-singing and dancing, with added warmth and successful party and kids’ sections

At present, Morrisons remains in fourth place in the UK supermarket league, a spot it has occupied for a long while.

Morrisons Colindale

Morrisons Colindale

The new Morrisons supermarket in north-west London is all-singing and dancing, with added warmth and successful party and kids’ sections

Yet there was a point over the last year or two when that old aphorism ‘If it wasn’t there you wouldn’t have invented it’ might perhaps have been applied to the Bradford-based grocer.

Then the chief executive exited, the nascent convenience chain was offloaded and the business got back to being a supermarket plain and simple.

Things seemed to stabilise, but it was hard not to wonder: where next? Now we know the answer.

Following on the back of a pretty good-looking store that Morrisons opened in Weybridge in 2014, a mid-size supermarket has opened on the Edgware Road in Colindale that has all the hallmarks of a chain that has stared into the abyss and done something about it.

Past and present

The store is on the site of a former Asian food shopping and dining enterprise dubbed “Oriental City” that went under in 2008. Since then, the site has been derelict.

Visitors enter a world of Morrisons that has many of the features that may identify it as such, but which has a fair number that are brand new too.

“The folly of the atomiser, spraying a fine mist on fresh veg, is now a distant memory, and in its place there is vintage wood”

John Ryan

The folly of the atomiser, spraying a fine mist on fresh veg, is now a distant memory, and in its place there is vintage wood.

The word ‘vintage’ in this context means wood that looks as if it might have been used to carry fresh produce around in a market, and it has been applied to a lot of the equipment in the ‘fresh’ area.

As such, Morrisons is doing what others have been toying with for a while, but it puts it on level terms and does have a warmth that has been signally lacking.

Shops-in-shop

Then there is the party area, just inside the front door. This is a big supermarket and the kind of place where whole families may well end up trawling the broad aisles.

“A shop-in-shop selling the necessaries to mark holidays and high days for any age seems a shrewd move therefore and one that will pay dividends”

John Ryan

A shop-in-shop selling the necessaries to mark holidays and high days for any age seems a shrewd move therefore and one that will pay dividends. Finally, the Nutmeg kids’ shop is the best the retailer has done yet.

The question is really how quickly Morrisons can and will be able to take advantage of what it has done in Colindale.

If it can act swiftly then fourth position will remain assured and the misfortunes of others may put third place within reach.