LOCATION: My target is located just to the north of the ’railway town’ of Crewe, close to Bradfield Green on the B5076. It is the first MFG- owned garage to trial the Morrisons c-store concept ’Morrisons Daily’.

FORECOURT: The forecourt is a good size and offers the services expected from an urban site. An illuminated Shell-branded pole shows competitive fuel prices.

Under a large canopy are four islands of modern, clean pumps each communicating the availability of Shell V-Power fuels. There was a steady flow of fuel customers.

To the left of the shop is a car wash and jet wash facility. At the other side are the airline, water and a pay-for vacuum.

The forecourt is clean and tidy and there are parking spaces but they are not well marked and I was not aware of any designated for the disabled.

Shop-front services include a free-to-use ATM, Calor Gas and an Amazon Locker. Immediately in front of the shop are a newspaper stand and three bins marked ’Wood, Coal & Charcoal’ that also included screen wash products.

There was a display unit for flowers but no flowers!

To the left of the shop entrance is a panel stating ’Welcome to Morrisons Daily, Open 24 Hrs’ and separately the word Morrisons featuring an attractive flower design appearing to blossom out of the ’i’ of Morrisons.

SHOP: The bright green shop fascia features the title Morrisons Daily.

Clear, clean windows give great uninterrupted vision into the shop. The interior is light and the department signing contemporary and to the point ’Grab and Go’ at the sandwich and snack section and at the till area ’Here to Help. Tobacco, Spirits & Lottery’.

Produce all pre-packed is displayed on shelving on either side of a gangway in green plastic baskets. I think it would all look better fresher even in wicker baskets or wooden boxes. The Morrisons ’Fresh Farm Market Street’ theme was represented in part by a good range of sandwiches, wraps and a better-than-average offering of fresh pre-packed meat and fish. A great £3.50 meal deal was on offer. A range of drinks is available from a Costa Express unit.

This Morrisons Daily is offering a fairly wide range of canned and packaged grocery items both branded and Morrisons’ own brand, but they are missing out on the consumers’ focus on fresh implied by the brand ’Daily’.

Milk and bread provide for regular top-up needs but it was disappointing not to find any artisan-type breads. Indeed no local products were stocked at all.

I liked the position of the OTC/HBA unit within the main shop, but directly opposite the till area and the watchful eyes of staff.

The two members of staff I saw were excellent. The shop does not have customer loos but access to the clean staff toilet was readily given. My transaction was handled in a very efficient, speedy and friendly manner.

PROGNOSIS: Just three months after selling its M Local convenience store chain, Morrisons opened, in December of last year, this pilot store in Crewe under the ’Morrisons Daily’ banner. The pilot scheme with Motor Fuel Group (MFG) will trial five stores. A learning opportunity for both businesses.

Just recently MFG has been on the acquisition trail and now owns in excess of 400 service stations. Earlier this year MFG agreed a new shop supply agreement with Booker Retail Partners. It has also recently appointed a retail director and foodservices development manager.

DIAGNOSIS: Forecourt businesses operating convenience stores are aware that customers have a variety of missions when shopping. So it is vital that retailers know their customers and their needs and wants. This understanding is what has driven the development of some exceptional convenience stores across the forecourt sector.

PRESCRIPTION: Morrisons are late comers to the convenience store market and their pilot scheme with MFG will be closely watched and no doubt refined and developed. The basics are right at Crewe Service Station but the development of more fresh in keeping with the new ’flower’ image and a hot food-to-go offering will further meet shoppers’ needs.

It would be good to develop a customer toilet facility.

However the offer develops, I hope the current excellent staff and their customer service ethos is maintained.