The Co-op Group has confirmed plans to open 100 new food stores across the UK in 2018, which it says will create around 1,600 jobs.
The retailer says it will invest more than £160m in new stores and major makeovers at another 150 sites.
More than 20 new stores are set to open in London, and up to 18 stores are planned for Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Forres (Highlands) and Kilmacolm (Renfrewshire).
Rhayader (Powys) and Bryncoch (Neath) will be the first of 10 new stores which in Wales.
In England, new stores are planned in Blackpool, Bristol, Chesterfield, Crewe, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Southampton and York.
The news follows twin announcements last month as the Group confirmed it had reached an agreement to become exclusive wholesale supplier to the 2,200 stores across the Costcutter Supermarkets Group network, starting in spring. And members of Nisa Retail voted in favour of the Co-op’s offer to buy the delivered wholesale and convenience retail specialist, conditional on Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approval.
Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “The Co-op is positively responding to the changes occurring within this dynamic sector. Our Food business is going from strength to strength in what is clearly a challenging retail market.
“We have the ambition for our stores to be at the heart of local life, bringing communities together and offering our members and customers great quality products when and where they need them.”
Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s director of portfolio and development, said: “The Co-op’s extensive acquisitions and refit programme is a fundamental part of our food strategy.
“Moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum, our expansion plans for 2018 will mean that the Co-op is on track to have opened at least 100 new stores in each of three consecutive years.
“With over one million new active members joining us in the last year, we are always looking for new locations to get closer to where our members and customers live and work and to meet their shopping needs conveniently. Our members are now telling us where they would like to see a new Co-op store opening to serve their community through our suggest-a-site website.”