UK grocer Morrisons opened its first convenience store today (8 July) under the new M-local banner.

The store is based in the Yorkshire town of Ilkely and is the first of a trial of three stores that Morrisons wants to use to “evaluate and refine” its convenience offer.

The first outlet is just under 3,000 square feet and is a former college building that has been refitted. The retailer plans to open the further two M-local outlets during the remainder of the year.

Morrisons said it plans to make fresh food “front and centre” of the stores, with a minimum 100 lines of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a strong presence for fresh meat, fish and bakery.

It said that, unlike other convenience stores, there will be no price premium on fresh products and that its research has found that M-local fresh products will be 4-11% cheaper than other convenience stores.

“Convenience is one of the fastest growing sectors of the market and developing our offer in this channel is a key part of our growth strategy,” said Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips.

“We believe that convenient food doesn’t have to mean dull food. The M-local offer will be different: a greater emphasis on fresh food and, critically, the same competitive prices for fresh food in M-local as in Morrisons will really set us apart from the competition. I’m confident that customers will find the M-local offer compelling and different and I look forward to hearing their feedback.”