UNITED Co-operatives is set to acquire a group of 12 convenience stores in the Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales areas.
The stores form part of a family owned business called Cheers Shropshire Limited, trading under the name of ?Neighbours Food and Drink Stores'. The deal increases United's convenience store tally to 415.
Tim Hurrell, General Manager for United Co-operatives Food Group, said: "We are keen to expand our business portfolio by purchasing further convenience stores, together with add-on businesses and new-build stores. We look forward to welcoming the 200 staff and the thousands of ?Neighbours' customers to United Co-operatives, post completion on August 2nd 2004.`
The food group continues to build its business, which has seen the acquisition of over 190 stores in the last five years. The group is also investing heavily in refurbishing its existing stores with over 150 stores substantially modernised this year.
Howard Jones, Managing Director of Neighbours, made the following statement: "This has been an extremely difficult decision to arrive at, and one that is forced by the changing market in which we operate today. However, having made the decision to sell the company, I always felt that United Co-operatives was the obvious purchaser.
`Our prime concern was to find a retailer who would continue with the business ethos which we have generated, where staff are respected and cared for, and where the level of retail service is the prime motivator. I believe that United Co-operatives is best placed to meet these criteria."
Following acquisition on August 2nd (subject to successful TUPE consultation) the Neighbours stores will enjoy a major investment programme and will undergo significant refurbishment to the society's successful convenience store format.
United Co-operatives' latest acquisition announcement follows news earlier in the year that the society was planning to spend £ 100million on acquisitions during 2004.