Co-op retailers buy 17 My Local stores

Since My Local went into administration on 29 June, co-op retailers have been among the main buyers of its convenience stores. Formerly owned by Morrisons, the My Local chain...

Since My Local went into administration on 29 June, co-op retailers have been among the main buyers of its convenience stores.

Formerly owned by Morrisons, the My Local chain was sold to Greybull Capital last year for £25 million. Over 90 stores have been closed while 32 remained open and continued to trade.

Since the appointment of KPMG as administrators, deals to sell 19 of these former My Local shops to co-op retailers have been agreed.

A total of 450 My Local jobs have been saved between 29 June and 22 August, 295 of which have been saved by the four co-op retailers.

The Co-op Group now owns My Local stores in Croydon, Nottingham, Widnes, Blackpool, Stockport and Steeton – and, on 24 August, it announced it was acquiring two convenience stores from My Local for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of the sites, in Wilmslow and Ilkley, is subject to the approval of the Competition and Markets Authority.

Steve Murrells, chief executive – Retail at Co-op Food, said: “The Co-op Food business is moving forwards with a clear purpose and momentum, delivering a compelling, convenient and co-operative shopping experience for millions of shoppers each day.

“Our acquisitions programme is fundamental to the success of this strategy. In the last two years we have opened close to 200 new stores, and in 2016 the Co-op is actively pursuing 100 new stores as well as carrying out refits in a further 150.

“The acquisition of eight My Local stores supports our focus on convenience store retailing and adds to a portfolio that offers the right range in the right location.”

The Southern Co-operative has acquired nine My Local stores in Bristol Portishead, Ealing, Eastbourne, Wokingham, Bristol Whiteladies, Bristol Gloucester Road, Portsmouth, Shirley and Southampton Gateway. Another two stores, at Addlestone and Holbury, were sold to Southern prior to KPMG’s appointment.

Eight of the acquired stores have already opened under Southern’s banner.

The colleagues from these stores have transferred to employment with the Southern Co-operative under TUPE regulations.

The Southern Co-operative has introduced the latest Co-op ranges to the stores. As a new feature for these stores, the society has also introduced a selection of locally sourced products from its Local Flavours range.

Simon Eastwood, chief operating officer for Food at the Southern Co-operative said: “We are pleased to welcome these stores and colleagues to the Southern Co-operative. Our new colleagues are very enthusiastic about joining our Society and looking forward to getting involved and engaging with their local communities through our Love Your Neighbourhood scheme.”

Two other sales saw My Local’s Wroughton store go to the Midcounties Co-operative, and the Leigh-on-Sea store go to the Chelmsford Star Co-operative.

Barry Wood, chief executive of Chelmsford Star, said: “We are committed to expansion within our convenience food business and the Leigh store was the perfect opportunity to add to our portfolio of stores in the southern region of Essex.

“We are renowned as a community player and look forward to introducing both our membership and community initiatives to the area.”

Chelmsford Star opened the shop within days of the deal on 15 July, as the Co-operative Food, Leigh on Sea.

Nisa, a mutual including over 4,000 independent retailers across the UK, was a key supplier for My Local. But a spokesman for Nisa said the co-op would not be severely affected by the collapse of My Local.

“Nisa has carefully managed its trading position with My Local, including having extensive and satisfactory insurance cover, and therefore does not expect the My Local administration to have a material impact,” he said.

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