Morrisons turns to FITCH for ‘M local’ launch

Big four supermarket chain Morrisons is launching a convenience store format called M local, with strategy and design devised by FITCH. The first, 3,000 sq. ft. store opens in Ilkley in West Yorkshire today, 8 July, ahead of the launch of two further pilot sites eponymously.

Retail specialist FITCH has worked closely with Morrisons on the strategy, visual identity, interiors and architectural detailing of the M local format, since its appointment to the project in October 2010.

Research shows that UK shoppers are regularly disappointed in the freshness and range of convenience store products, and M local is specifically designed to answer these concerns. It will offer constantly replenished products, with food placement and selection changing according to the time of day.

Alasdair Lennox, Creative Director at FITCH says, “Our key customer insight was that the British public do not believe that small convenience stores can genuinely deliver fresh fruit and vegetables or bake fresh bread, even though we would all love to have this on our street corner. FITCH’s principle design challenge was to create a retail proposition and expression that positions M local as ‘Daily Market Fresh’ to match the Morrisons’ operational model, as opposed to its competitors which generally offer ‘Supermarket Fresh’”.

The interior design embodies the atmosphere of a marketplace with clear lines of sight, the use of tile-work, exposed architecture and natural materials, such as wood and wicker. The M local name itself establishes a strong link to the Morrisons parent brand, while evoking a more neighbourhood-focused store. The new visual identity retains the design equity of Morrisons’ green and yellow, however it introduces a fresh green to the colour palette and a typographic style that takes it’s references from the eclectic and hand crafted feel of a true market place.

The Ilkley store is based in Morrisons’ Yorkshire heartland and is situated conveniently between the residential neighbourhood and small town centre. It will target breakfast, lunch, and dinner shoppers buying fresh coffee, sandwiches and evening meals, as well as those looking for top-up shops and emergency purchases.

Lucy Unger, director for Europe and Russia at FITCH, says, “As the second largest food producer in the UK, Morrisons is already a brand with a really strong commitment to high quality and fresh food; M local really demonstrates a tangible investment in this promise to customers. It is very gratifying for FITCH to be working with Morrisons during such a dynamic period in their development.’

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