Morrisons is planning to sell off its share of the 61 BP Safeway Partnership sites following the disbandment of the eight-year-old joint venture, announced last month.
BP will continue to supply fuel to Morrisons’ 30 sites for the time being, but Bob Stott, Morrisons chief executive, said: “We have received a number of unsolicited expressions of interest for the sites, which we intend to persue and will also begin to actively market them as a group of stores. They are an attractive proposition, particularly for those focused on convenience retailing.”
BP will take over the remaining 31 sites in the South East and Central Scotland, which “best fit its retail strategy”, and has signed an agreement with Nisa-Today’s to continue the supply of fresh foods and grocery.
As part of the agreement, BP’s sites will remain Safeway branded until the end of the year, but will come under the management of BP Express, the shop arm of BP Retail.
Graham Sims, retail director for BP in the UK, said: “Taking back these 31 stores under direct management will stengthen our convenience retailing business. In time we plan to invest and develop these new locations.”
The long-term plan is to brand the sites either BP Express or BP Connect. “It’s early days so no decision has been made yet. We want to continue the offer for customers.”
BP claims there are no plans to partner with anyone else at this stage, but a spokeswoman said: “We can’t say what will happen in the future because retail moves so quickly.”