Morrisons has bought 49 Blockbuster stores from the company’s administrators, Deloitte, as it begins an accelerated expansion of its Morrisons M local convenience estate. The deal follows shortly after Morrisons’ acquisition of seven Jessops stores.

The Blockbuster deal gives Morrisons access to a significant number of high street and neighbourhood locations across the country, particularly in south-east England. Morrisons hopes to have the stores trading by the end of the summer.

The retailer has stated its intention to open at least 70 Morrisons M local stores by the end of 2013, starting with London and the South East, where it has acquired a 100,000sq ft multi-temperature distribution centre in Feltham, west London. This will become the hub of a distribution network in the region and is set to open later this month.

Morrisons has also announced that its convenience stores will switch from the current M local name to a new Morrisons M local fascia.

Gordon Mowat, managing director of Morrisons Convenience, said: “We are rolling out the Morrisons M local estate at pace this year and these acquisitions give us a kick start in securing a solid foothold in this key sector.

“The convenience market is growing as more people shop locally and we want to be in a position to take advantage of this. Morrisons M locals offer a differentiated fresh shopping experience with half the space dedicated to fresh food and scratch cooking all at great prices.”

Morrisons said it would be putting fresh food at the centre of its convenience offer, with all Morrisons M locals having more than 100 lines of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as strong presence for fresh meat, fish and bakery.