UK's Morrisons to close McColl's stores; 1,300 jobs at risk

McColl's convenience store in London

LONDON (Reuters) -British supermarket group Morrisons is to close 132 McColl's convenience stores that have no realistic prospect of making a profit in the medium term, it said on Tuesday, putting 1,300 workers at risk of redundancy.

The majority of the closures will take place this year, while 55 stores that include a Post Office counter will close next year.

Morrisons bought the McColl's chain out of administration in May but the deal was not cleared by the competition regulator until last month.

It said that every affected worker would be offered alternative employment at a nearby McColl’s store, Morrisons store, logistics operation or foodmaking centre.

McColl's currently trades from 1,164 stores, 286 of which trade under the Morrisons Daily fascia.

The chain has annual turnover of about 1.2 billion pounds ($1.4 billion), representing about 0.8% of the UK grocery market.

Morrisons' plan is to have more than 1,000 stores trading as Morrisons Daily within two years.

It said it will invest significantly in the McColl’s business over the next year, improving the chain's product range and pricing position.

($1 = 0.8720 pounds)

(Reporting by James DaveyEditing by David Goodman)