Morrisons supermarket snaps up collection of Jessops shops

Supermarket giant acquires stores from collapsed chain as part of plans to expand local stores

LAST UPDATED AT 10:37 ON Mon 4 Feb 2013

SUPERMARKET giant Morrisons has bought seven stores from administrators of the collapsed camera retailer Jessops for an undisclosed fee.

The chain will use the sites acquired from PricewaterhouseCoopers to expand its local arm as it begins to target the growing convenience store market, the Sunday Telegraph reports. Four of the sites are in London, two elsewhere in England and one in Scotland.

Morrisons plans to open 50 new 'M Local' stores this year after a disappointing Christmas period where it performed the worst of Britain's top four supermarkets.

The Bradford-based chain is also in talks to buy sites from HMV and Blockbuster as part of its financial fightback following a like-for-like 2.5 per cent slump in sales in the six weeks through to December 2012, City AM notes. Chief executive Dalton Philips hopes the new convenience stores will help Morrisons catch up with Tesco and Sainsbury's.

The move comes after Dragons' Den star Peter Jones bought Jessops' brand "and certain other assets", believed to be intellectual property rights and leftover stock, for an undisclosed amount last week.

The entrepreneur and TV stalwart was part of a group of buyers and it is believed they will run the camera brand as an online operation.

Jessops became the latest high street casualty in January. More than 2,000 jobs were lost and 187 stores closed when the company went into administration, after being hit by growing internet sales and consumers' increasing reliance on smartphones for taking photographs.

The chain began 130 years ago as a Leicester chemist's shop and managed sales of £236m in the year to December 2012 but had not made a profit since 2009. · 

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