The Heart of England Co-operative food stores will undergo refurbishment as part of a two-million pound investment programme. The society, which operates across Coventry, Warwickshire, South Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, intends to transform a number of stores over the next 12 months.
Its 5,800sq ft store in Willenhall, Coventry, will undergo a £700,000 refurbishment and will include a new pharmacy, a smaller food store and a third unit that will be marketed for retail purposes.
Rugby’s Long Lawford store will also be refurbished at a cost of £1.3m while the Society’s Warwick Gates store in Cressida Close will receive an investment of £100,000 and an additional £250,000 for a new IT system. The co-op plans to open two new food stores in the Coventry region.
Chief executive Ali Kurji says the investments will enable the business to remain profitable in “a very challenging climate”. He said: “I am delighted that we will continue our programme of refurbishments over the next year. As a business it is vital that we continue to invest in our stores so that we remain profitable and ensure the future sustainability of the Society.
“The last year has been extremely challenging for retailers, and the Heart of England Co-operative Society is no exception. But we are investing back into the business and refurbishing our stores to ensure that we meet the needs of our members, customers and our staff.”
In 2015, the society invested £1.8m to transform a derelict pub in Wyken, a suburb of Coventry, into a new food store, generating 20 new jobs for the local community. Its funeral division has also expanded. In January, Heart of England Co-op opened a new funeral home in Leamington Spa, after a £1.5m investment. Similarly, the society invested £330,000 into one in Kenilworth and £1.5m for one in Nuneaton.
All new food stores and funeral homes will continue to have the current branding.
Mr Kurji added: “I believe it is important to provide a strong platform for the Society as we move forward. We are constantly looking for opportunities which will support the continued growth of our portfolio and ensure that the Society remains at the very heart of the local community.”