Kirkstall – An ever moving feast – Store finished!

Each time you visit a store you expect an element of variability, your favourite item out of stock, items in a different place due to a review or shelf relay and the ever moving feast of promotional items… The shoppers at Kirkstall Morrisons have had to put up with more than most due to it being the ‘fresh’ lab inspired by Dalton’s experience around the globe, since the Produce department was revamped in October there have been countless changes to the store with aisle movements, removal of shippers, dumpbins and adding new categories and aisles.

After yesterday’s store visit, staff were pleased that the changes were finalised. It’s not been a nightmare per se for them but difficult with a higher than usual number of queries about product locations as the aisles change weekly, it has been disruptive but the staff are really proud of their store and morale was excellent.

So, with the news that it’s now a completed job – here’s a look at the finalised ‘fresh’ lab which will be combined with liberate and the productivity trials to be the ‘store of the future’ later this year.


Arguably the largest part of the trial as the whole department has changed, different display tables, displayed on ice and 650 different lines stocked – many of which are exotic and have never been stocked by Morrisons before.

Much more focus on items being presented a la Market stalls.
The excellent exotic vegetables on beds of ice.
Offers are situated at the front of the department and look appealing.
 Fresh 2 Go

As you enter the store, the ‘fresh 2 go’ signage has been refreshed again and there is a real variety of salads and meals to take away. It’s interesting that the ‘Oven Fresh’ department is more primarily to sell chickens now and the actual ‘food to go’ area is at the front of the store. There are pre bagged Bites and Wedges, Shepherds Pie, Cottage Pie and an excellent variety of soups and salads.

The counter offers hot pies, ready meals and snacks to go.
The salad bar has been revamped to offer more premium quality produce.
A slight change in the logo but it retains the Safeway moniker.    
Fish Counter
There are two parts to the fish counter now and it’s noticeable that with the increase in serviced departments there is an increase in staff coverage which is something to carefully balance up when rolling out the concept, whilst departments show initially positive sales increases it is coming at a staff cost.
The fish counter has been covered in a previous blog whereby it shows a similar layout to Loblaw with the fish being aligned vertically in silver trays, standardising the display but you do lose an element of that ‘fishmonger’ display with oceans(!) of ice.
1st ‘half’ of the counter – displayed ‘fishmonger’ style.
The right of the counter (taken Jan ’11) with pre cut fillets arranged in silver trays to drive premiumisation.  
Olives / Antipasti / Pizzeria
An addition to the store is the addition of an Olive and Antipasti bar along with Pizzeria counter (offering traditional Italian pizza bases along with the standard offer). This is located next to the fishmongers and replaces the salad bar that has been moved to ‘Fresh 2 go’ at the front of the store.


Italian Pizza – these are priced higher than the standard Pizza offer but made in store.   
To coin a Safeway phrase! There is far more interactivity within Kirkstall and in particular a chef who is seen on the ‘kitchen on wheels’ cooking near Produce. He does a few different dishes each day and had just finished Steak when I got there. He told me the provenance is on using the new exotic vegetables that the store stocks and perhaps some of the new meat – in particular the grain fed steaks that have been introduced from North America. He said he’d worked Michelin star restaurants but grain-fed steak was brilliant.
Morrisons employ a chef in Kirkstall to educate customers and provide theatre
There are also a lot of samplers to encourage customers to try.  
Cheesemongers / Deli + Oven Fresh
The Delicatessen and Cheesemongers are split out now, rather than having the counters trade under the one ‘brand’. There are a great number of lines sold in both cheese and meats so having the counters trade individually does make sense. The area where the cheesemongers and the Deli also provides other things for an evening meal with 3 ‘island’ fridges offering mini bites, pies, ready meals and a selection of beer and wine.
There is a far greater range of cheese in the single trading ‘Cheesemonger’ counter.
The hanging meats add to the theatre and give off an impression of a traditional ‘deli’. 
The Deli also offers a wider range of continental meats to further drive the offer.      
Oven Fresh

There is a major shift with the ever popular oven fresh department seeing most of their business as ‘to go’ being housed within the ‘fresh 2 go’ area in the foyer area. The Oven Fresh department has become a pre packed area for chickens and multipack pies to drive productivity. It’s worth noting that this is another area to benefit from the 2 hour guarantee of freshness.

The focus continues to be on locally sourced birds (well within the UK..)  
and freshness is never far from the customers mind with a 2 hour guarantee.   
Little Tweaks

There are a lot of little tweaks across the store but here are a few ‘highlights’ from Kirkstall to improve the all around perception of the brand, image and store. I didn’t realise until the end that the aisle dumpbins have been removed from the store, Shrewsbury also don’t have any dumpbins as part of Liberate.

The ‘garish’ market style waterproof cover style ‘roof’ on the bumblebees has been removed.   
The traditional Yellow has gone from both overhead  and bus stop signage. Brown for Bakery 
Green is now the choice colour of Grocery with White/Green for overheads.
No dumpbins on any aisle means a shop that is easier to shop.

This is almost phase 1 of the blog posts to come, there wasn’t too much to report from York but nevertheless some elements to report back on – it wasn’t as ‘striking’ as Kirkstall.

I’ve still got to cover further adjustments to the store and in particular the Garden centre, Health & Beauty change and Beers, Wines and Spirits of which I wanted to pay particular attention to such is the change.

In the meantime – here’s a picture to whet the appetite.

Complete with BWS manager, here’s the new wines section.

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