Earlier this week SandpiperCI, the largest retailer in the Channel Islands, announced plans to revamp its 22 Food Hall mini-supermarkets in Jersey and Guernsey by converting them into Morrisons Daily outlets.
SandpiperCI chief executive Tony O’Neill has claimed that the move should result in five per cent price cuts in each store and the generation of an extra 100 jobs.
Anne King, executive officer of the Jersey Consumer Council, said that the move seemed to meet the concerns of Islanders about rising food costs.
‘Looking at the States Statistics Unit’s lifestyle survey from last year, a number of people have been experiencing pressure when it comes to the price of food,’ she said.
‘So maybe what we are seeing here is the market again reacting to what people want.’
Last month it was announced that the price of food increased 3.9 per cent over the last year in Jersey – the highest rate in six years. Price rises were recorded for bread, cereals, biscuits and cakes, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products.
Mrs King said that the Morrisons brand should be welcomed to the Island for several reasons, including potentially better price competition. ‘I think it’s very welcome in terms of the job creation that has been mentioned and also that a different product range is coming our way,’ she added.
‘The extra competition will be welcome and hopefully we will see benefit to consumers through lower food prices. They may have to temper how much they can cut prices because Morrisons is a franchise and some prices may be fixed.
‘But hopefully, overall, there should be lower prices and more choice for consumers, which can only be a good thing.’
She added, however, that it remained to be seen whether there would be an improvement in the quality of products on offer.
Jersey’s first Morrisons Daily store is scheduled to open in May, with the remaining 15 stores in the Island due to be converted during the following 12 months.