Multi-site retailer Harj Dhasee will become the first independent to operate under the Morrisons Daily fascia in January.
He had been due to switch his two stores located in Gloucestershire to SimplyFresh supplied by Sainsbury’s in July, however days before the refit the supermarket chain announced it would be closing its wholesale division.
Dhasee told Better Retailing he was approached by Morrisons immediately after the news.
“After the deal fell through I had loads of people ringing me. Morrisons’ head of wholesale convenience and franchise, Paul Dobson told me what they were doing and said they were looking at doing something on this side of the sector, but they wanted the right retailer,” he said.
Dhasee confirmed one store will be open “all singing and all dancing” by the end of January, with the next store looking to convert at the end of Q1.
“We are currently looking at planograms,” he said. “The team are willing to listen, that’s what really attracted me to them. Local is a massive focus for us, as it is them. They wanted the right retailer to represent the brand and they are very protective over that. Produce we stock has to be sourced from farms no more than ten miles away.”
When asked if Morrisons revealed when they were planning on approaching more independents to join the fascia, Dhasee said: “The set up isn’t for everyone. They do want more retailers to join, but they aren’t looking to recruit 100 more tomorrow.”
Although Dhasee will lose some independence during the process, he praised the team for reassuring him he will be able to bring forward new ideas.
“It is scary that I am going to lose some of my independent ability to do what I want, when I want,” he said. “But during the conversations I’ve had, I’ve been told if something isn’t working it will be removed, and I can always come forward if I have an idea about something that could work better.”
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