Morrisons buy Blockbuster stores

Morrisons will take over 49 Blockbuster stores but it is not yet clear whether shops in Hitchin and

Morrisons will take over 49 Blockbuster stores but it is not yet clear whether shops in Hitchin and Stevenage will be saved - Credit: Archant

A SUPERMARKET chain has bought dozens of Blockbuster stores, it has been announced today (Monday).

Morrisons will convert 49 shops under its convenience store brand M local with trading expected to start by the end of the summer.

DVD and rental chain Blockbuster went into administration last month, with stores in Stevenage, Hitchin and Henlow Camp among 324 earmarked for closure.

Morrisons has not yet revealed which stores have been bought, but the majority are said to be in the south east region and will create around 1,000 jobs.

Morrisons currently has supermarkets in Shefford and Letchworth GC, where the nearby Blockbuster store has not been listed for closure.

Currently the supermarket has 12 M local stores, with plans to open at least 70 more by the end of the year.

“We are rolling out the Morrisons M local estate at pace this year and these acquisitions give us a kick start in securing a solid foothold in this key sector,” said the managing director of Morrisons Convenience Gordon Mowat.

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“The convenience market is growing as more people shop locally and we want to be in a position to take advantage of this. Morrisons M locals offer a differentiated fresh shopping experience with half the space dedicated to fresh food and scratch cooking all at great prices.”

Lee Manning, a partner at Blockbuster administrator Deloitte, added: “This transaction represents a good deal for both the creditors of Blockbuster and Morrisons and we are pleased that these stores have found an alternative user that can create new employment.

“This group of stores forms a proportion of the Blockbuster package announced for closure earlier this week and is expected to be the first of a number of group and individual store transactions to arise from the Blockbuster portfolio given the significant levels of occupier interest for many of the assets”.