Morrisons, convenienceYou already have Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local and Waitrose’s self-stated goal to open 300 convenience stores over the next five-ten years, following its first trial in Nottingham last year.

And this morning one more of the nation’s beloved multiple store operators announced its intention to move into the convenience format.

Dalton Philips, chief executive of the chain, will tell the City this morning: “In the first half of 2011 we will begin a trial of a new convenience format and we are currently investigating the opportunities for Morrisons in the internet grocery channel.

“Morrisons’s past success has been built on being different, in the offer we bring to customers, and this will continue in any new areas for business development.”

The move will start with the opening of three stores – in places yet to be announced – and will form part of a new strategy that will also see the grocer introducing an online offering.

One of the key phrases that struck me from the reporting of Mr Philips comments in the Financial Times this morning was this: “We need to understand convenience [shopping],” he said. “Convenience is a significant market of great potential.”

We all know the value of the sector and, purely from day-to-day doings, know what the market is capable of and what it offers to consumers. The first line struck me, though. Mr Philips is looking to ‘understand’ convenience. It’s an interesting choice of phrase and makes me think that he, and Morrisons, might look to do things slightly differently to the aggressive expansions of Tesco and Waitrose, in particular.

Do you fear such a move from Morrisons? Or do you take all competition in your stride now, as there is so much out there? How can Morrisons ‘understand’ convenience?