UK supermarket firm Wm Morrison opened the first of its converted Safeway stores at the end of last week, having taken control of Safeway last month.

Morrisons converted the Safeway store in Rippon, North Yorkshire, to the Morrisons format, as well as a store in Southport, reported the Financial Times. Two more conversions, at Chester and Bramley, are due to be completed this week, and the company plans to convert three stores a week from the summer.

The 50 largest Safeway stores are expected to be converted by November, while the whole Safeway chain should be converted by early 2007.

“The opening of the first converted stores on schedule is the first step in delivering the promises we made to shareholders and other stakeholders when the takeover was completed,” chairman Sir Ken Morrison was quoted by the Financial Times as saying.

Morrisons finally completed its takeover of Safeway in March, more than a year since it first launched a bid for its larger rival.

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