The Co-op Group has announced plans to open 100 new food stores and upgrade 200 existing branches during 2019, which it says will create 1,500 jobs.
The retailer’s combined £200m investment programme follows the recent acquisitions of new distribution depots in Bedfordshire and Inverness to support expansion in Scotland and the south of England.
A third of the new stores are planned for the south east and London – including sites at Berwick Street, Soho; Chiswick; Greenwich; Ilford and Queens Park. There are also plans to launch new ‘food-to-go’ format stores at Baker Street Station and in a railway arch at the Minories.
In Scotland, the Group will launch over 40 new or improved stores, including sites in Alford, Aberdeenshire; Banchory, Edinburgh; Falkirk; Forres; Galston; and Glasgow.
In Wales, the retailer plans at least 10 new stores with openings in Cardiff, Carmarthen, Hendreforgan, Machen, Pen Y Groes, Prestatyn and St Athan.
Stuart Hookins, director of portfolio and development, said: “This year will be the fourth consecutive year of opening around 100 new stores, and investing in a core convenience estate, which has seen over four years of consecutive like for like sales growth.
“Connecting communities and bringing people together is at the heart of the Co-op. Our strategy is to offer the products members and customers want, need and care about, closer to where they live and work.
“The right location and range tailored to fulfil the shopping needs of a community is a cornerstone of our approach, and there has been an evolution in how we choose new locations and innovate our offer.
“We focus on looking for new sites that support our ambition to operate at the heart of local life, and deliver our value and values that make a difference in our communities.”