Moreish Morton’s

The unique product range available at Morton's has made it a destination store
The unique product range available at Morton's has made it a destination store

With a dedicated team of six chefs creating its own range of fresh foods, the Gold Award winner in the Stores 4,000 - 8,000 sq ft category, Morton's of Ranelagh, is a unique destination outlet



16 January 2013

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Dunville Avenue,
Dublin 6
Owner: Gary Morton
Size: Approx. 8,000 sq ft
Staff: 55; 20 part-time, 30 full-time

Fresh food is what Morton’s of Ranelagh, which has been in existence since 1934, thrives on. Indeed, it accounts for around 65% of overall turnover at the Dunville Avenue store. Morton’s has its own team of six chefs who work in the kitchen above the shop providing all the deli products, salads and home-made dinner options that have contributed to the store maintaining a loyal customer base over the years. As retailer Gary Morton explains: "The chefs bring an added dimension to the shop in that they produce all the food and it’s their creations and they’re deeply proud of what they do."

Dedicated fresh food team

The fresh food team all have a high degree of experience, with head chef Gwen Abbot having worked with the store for eight years. "Gwen brings a great deal to the shop," explains Morton. "She has a lot of input into our product range – she has developed many of the salads that are very popular here at the deli." The team also includes experienced patisserie chef, Stephen Mercer, who produces a lot of Morton’s homemade cakes, confectionery and biscuits.

With unique home-made products worth shouting about, getting the word out to potential new customers about the store’s offering is essential. In this respect, Morton says online activity, both on Morton’s websites and social media sites such as Facebook, has become increasingly important and will remain a key focus for the business in 2013. He also wants to increase the shop’s value perception amongst shoppers. "Price is going to be a significant driver of the business," he says. "We’re not chasing the multiples; we couldn’t do that. But we do offer value and I think we have to be able to show that. Our presence illustrating that in the shop will change…it’ll be clearer that we’re providing a good offer."

Hard-working staff

The major factor in the store’s success, according to Morton, is its team of 55 staff who he thanks for their hard work and dedication. In his opinion, what sets Morton’s apart from other stores are its specialists who are extremely knowledgeable about their particular product ranges and are able to advise shoppers accordingly. These naturally include the team of in-house chefs who also have a presence on the shop floor. Also based at the store, Sheridan’s cheese mongers are top class in this regard as is the shop’s butcher Lawlor’s which has "a very strong audience", and fish monger Alan Cashin who "has been working with fish for 20 years and knows everything there is to know." The in-store florist Miriam, offers an excellent full floral service moreover, while general manager Ger Ellis ensures that the entire shop is kept in excellent condition.

Morton says this "shop within a shop" structure brings "something special" by adding levels to the store and adding to the attraction for customers. 

Supporting Irish

The store also has many local and Irish suppliers such as Mark Michell for organic vegetables, Matt Butler for fruit and vegetables and many suppliers for goods such as chutneys and jams. Morton says the store also has some foreign suppliers in order to offer "something a bit different. We would get stuff privately from France that we would seek out but in general we would try to go through Irish merchants, Irish suppliers, as much as possible."

The Morton’s business, both at its Ranelagh store and growing Hatch Street store, is affiliated with the ADM Londis group, and has been ever since the latter was founded. As well as supplying Morton’s with well-known branded products, Londis offers a range of supports, including IT, marketing and general advice and the retailer says he is very grateful for all the support Londis has given the business over the years. When asked about the store maintaining its own independent identity, he candidly replies: "There’s no way we would fit into the Londis model and ADM would be focusing on the branded stores and that is clear of course but they do allow us to express ourselves and to be ourselves. It has always been that way so we have a comfortable relationship and it is very positive and friendly." What’s more he adds that Morton’s is "a strong brand in itself and has continued to build up its reputation. It fits into the market at a particular level and we’re going to stay in that place, we’re not going to drift away from how we are perceived by our customers." 

With a firm place at the centre of its community moreover, helping to sponsor many local events and charities, including the Ranelagh Arts Festival, it is clear that that the Morton’s brand and offering is one of a kind – not just on a local but national level – providing an excellent example of how to excel within fresh.

The judge’s verdict

Head judge and independent retail expert Joe Comerford shares his opinion of the store
Morton’s of Ranelagh a very busy independent store which carries an extra large range of dry grocery lines and every fresh food product imaginable. This store operates to the highest standard of cleanliness with well trained staff who are able to help customers with their every need. Morton’s is situated in an area where it has become a destination and a place to visit and has done this very well.



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