When Morrisons bought out the Safeway chain it turned to Swiftmigrate for a risk-free and cost-effective way of expanding its pricing applications to 180 new locations.
Morrisons had an established reputation in the north of England largely because of its highly successful discount structures, which discounted foods typically bought together. For example, customers buying a joint of beef and bag of carrots could take advantage of discounted gravy, potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.
When Morrisons bought the Safeway chain, stock market commentators were sceptical about whether this complex discount structure could be successfully rolled out to the 180 new southern locations.
The complex discount structures (which are updated daily) and retail systems (including stock control) in the original Morrisons stores were all handled by each store’s own VAX. At the time of the Safeway takeover, new VAXs hadn’t been available for over 10 years, so to meet the demand for 180 new systems Morrisons, and its partner Toshiba Tech, turned to emulation. This meant that the VAXs were fully built and configured at the distribution centre on a new server and then shipped to the target store along with all the other materials required for the store redesign.
Rebranding all 180 Safeway stores took less than a year because Morrison’s overcame this potentially huge issue quickly and decisively. Despite the warnings from market commentators, all of the converted supermarkets are performing much better than they ever did under the Safeway brand. And since the Swiftmigrate implementation in 2006, not a single VAX fault has been reported.