Bradford-based supermarket giant Morrisons opened a convenience store yesterday in its first foray into the growing small shops sector.

The firm chose Ilkley to pilot what will be one of three M Local stores to be opened this year as it tests a market in which its big rivals have already established a foothold.

Crowds of shoppers poured into the M Local shop when it opened in Bolton Bridge Road in a former college building.

But Dalton Philips, Morrisons chief executive, insists the firm’s focus on “freshness and value” means it is not taking a gamble.

“Forty per cent of our stock will be devoted to being fresh food. There will be 30 per cent more fresh food items than in other convenience stores,” he said.

Mr Philips said the convenience store would carry the same prices as the superstores.

He said the company had targeted Ilkley because it is in a “strong neighbourhood, and residential location” and a lot of the fresh food would be supplied from its Keighley superstore.

The store has created 15 full-time and part-time jobs.

Read more on this story in today's T&A