The Co-operative Group’s Food division aims to open more than 100 new convenience stores this year and has secured an agreement to lease 54 pubs from Marston’s PLC portfolio.
The properties are located throughout the country, but with a concentration in central, eastern and northern England. The lease terms are 15 years and the rental income agreed varies between £15 per sq ft and £17.50 per sq ft.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-operative Food, said the Group had a vision to establish itself as the best local food retailer in the UK and would focus on developing and growing their existing convenience estate of over 2,000 stores.
“Our focus is on convenience stores and a more away from larger stores, as we look to highlight our strengths and consolidate our position as number one in the competitive convenience market. To do this we are investing in our stores to ensure that the product offering, the service and the prices appeal to shoppers.”
The Group aims to use surplus lands adjacent to the existing public houses for new-build projects. Some public houses will either be converted to convenience store use or redeveloped as standalone convenience retail stores, while some of the assets will be expanded in size through the addition of an extension of new-built.
Stuart Hookins, head of portfolio strategy, acquisitions and disposals at the Group, added: “Part of our acquisitions strategy is to explore creative ways to acquire stores, and this is a great example of that approach at work, adding over 50 stores in one transaction. The speed at which this acquisition was completed – four months from start to finish – is a testament to our decision making and ability to progress deals quickly.”
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