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Morrisons to open York city-centre store
YORKSHIRE supermarket giant Morrisons is to open its first store in York city centre, it has announced.
The firm is to open in the former Game shop in Spurriergate, which more recently housed ill-fated camera chain Jessops.
The company says the move will create 15 to 20 jobs and the shop, branded as M-local, should be open by the end of the summer. A spokeswoman said it would focus particularly on fresh produce.
Morrisons is rapidly expanding its position in the convenience store sector and has bought dozens of stores in recent months from failed chains Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops.
The company reported a drop in sales over Christmas but is offering a £500 bonus to any employee who suggests a site that becomes a new M-local. It is keen to compete with Tesco and Sainsbury’s, each of which already have several branches in York.
The Morrisons spokeswoman said: “The new store will give more space to fresh food such as fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and bakery products than other convenience stores.”
She said around half of the shop could be allocated to fresh produce, including fresh coffee, baked goods and a salad bar, sand said: “We hope these stores will create footfall and bring the bustle back to the high street.”
City council leader James Alexander welcomed the announcement, but greengrocers on Newgate Market in York said they feared they could suffer.
Paula Hind, who runs a stall, said on hearing the news: “It’s ridiculous. It’s taking our trade away.”
John Cartwright, who works on her stall, said: “Haven’t we got enough competition already, with three little Tescos and a Sainsbury in the centre and a big Morrisons just down the road? We don’t want any more competition.”
Coun Alexander said: “Its good to see another big retail brand with plans to move into the York, bringing an empty shop into use and increasing the city's offer to residents and visitors.
"Morrisons is not only flying the flag for Yorkshire companies, but will increase investor confidence in the city and encourage more brands to relocate and expand in York.”
Gordon Mowat, Morrisons managing director for convenience stores, recently said 2013 would be a big year for M-local, as the firm looked to expand rapidly.