THE Co-operative Group has announced the acquisition of ten convenience stores in the North East of England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands for an undisclosed sum.
The Group will invest almost £ 2.5 million in rebranding and refurbishing the stores, which add 17,500 sq ft of selling space to its portfolio of businesses.
Owned by Sainsbury's, the stores trade under the names Bells or Jacksons, and are located in York, Middlesbrough, Ossett, Billingham, Thornaby, Wakefield, Nottingham, Leicester and Newton Hall and Chilton in County Durham. The Leicester store is currently closed.
The Group expects to complete on the acquisition within the next six weeks and the stores will be converted to its convenience format, with its emphasis on fresh foods, by the autumn.
Co-operative Group Chief Executive Peter Marks said: "This is a significant investment for The Co-operative and continues our ambitious programme of growth to sustain market leadership in the convenience sector.
"The stores have great potential and with the benefits we will bring, including our member share of profits scheme, we would expect to add significant value to the businesses."
All staff employed at the stores will be offered employment with the Group under TUPE regulations.