Morrisons buys Jessops stores for expansion

 
Kasmira Jefford
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WM Morrison, the supermarket chain, has bought seven former Jessops outlets from the collapsed specialist camera chain’s administrators PwC.

The UK’s fourth largest grocer plans to convert the sites into M Local shops as it begins its assault on the fast-growing convenience store market this year.

Four of the former Jessops stores are in London and three are elsewhere in the UK.

Jessops’s administration last month led to 187 stores closures and the loss of 1,500 jobs at the chain.

The brand and existing stock was sold last week to a group of buyers including Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones, though the deal was focused on the value of the brand and is unlikely to see Jessops stores reopen.

Morrisons is also in talks to buy a further handful of sites from music chain HMV and video rental service Blockbuster, which also collapsed into administration last month.

A spokesperson declined to comment yesterday.

The Bradford-based retailer, which is behind its rivals opening convenience stores, plans to open up to 70 M Local shops by the end of 2013.

It has launched around 12 convenience stores to date, which it also hopes will help revive sales.

The chain last month confirmed its position as the turkey among “the big four” supermarkets over Christmas after reporting a 2.5 per cent slump in like-for-like sales in the six weeks through to 30 December.

But Jessops fared even worse over the festive period. PwC was called in on 9 January after nervous suppliers pulled the plug, citing worse-than-expected trading during the holiday season.