Morriso's to buy Blockbuster

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Morrisons has announced it will buy 49 stores from the failed Blockbuster film rental chain to build a new convenience store franchise, primarily in London and the South East, states chartered accountant Harris & Co.

The stores are among the 164 outlets that Blockbuster"s administrators, Deloitte, said last week would close with the loss of 800 jobs.

The 49 stores being purchased for an undisclosed payment are of strategic value to Morrisons which has lagged other supermarkets in creating a convenience-store format.

They will be converted into ‘Morrisons M’ local shops and should open by the summer, creating 1,000 jobs, the retailer said.

Although Morrisons has not made any formal commitment to retain Blockbusters staff, the firm said it ‘would be delighted if they wanted to apply for jobs at the new stores’.

Nationally, Morrisons has about 11% market share among supermarkets, but in the South it is just 6%. It has previously said it will open 70 convenience stores by the end of this year, primarily in the South East, and has already bought 7 stores from Jessops, following the collapse of the camera retailer.

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