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M&M upgrading and seeking expansion

Rebranded frozen-food franchise planning for 500 outlets
M&M Meats

Canada’s biggest specialty frozen food retail chain is getting a new name and expanding its customer offerings and its franchise network.  
M&M Meat Shops Ltd.'s new name is M&M Food Market, and its product line expansion is aimed at winning back customers by giving them the chance to stock up for a whole meal and not just on meats.  

M&M CEO Andy O’Brien is betting the move, which includes bringing in more than 100 new products ranging from fish tacos to frozen sushi, will transform the Canadian frozen food retailer into a highly recognizable name for everyday fare. 

Back in 2008, M&M's sales hit an estimated $475 million, but these days, the figure is closer to $400 million after too-fast growth in Canada and an unsuccessful expansion in the U.S. led the frozen retail giant off course. However, Nielsen Canada's vice-president of Consumer Insights, Carman Allison points out that currency trends are now pushing up fresh food prices, which means higher demand for frozen food. Frozen food sales have risen 3.5 percent in Canada to around $5.5 billion in the past year, Allison noted. 

According to O'Brien, M&M, an ongoing store remodel is that of a modern kitchen, with stainless steel accents. Five stores have been completed so far, and 50 more will be finished in 2016.  

Over the past few years, M&M has closed around 100 stores, but they now have ambitious plans to expand from the current 370 locations to a total of 500 stores by 2019. M&M Food Market is seeking franchisees in several areas, including Vancouver.  

M&M has a franchise fee of $30,000, thought the total initial investment is between $300,000 and $450,000, depending on the type of store opened. M&M also collects an ongoing royalty fee of 3 per cent on gross sales.