The boards of Scotmid Co-operative and Seaton Valley Co-operative have met with a view to merging the two societies later this year.
Scotmid Co-operative, founded in 1859, employs around 4,700 staff in 350 retail and service outlets across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England.
In 2013, the society merged with the then-123-year old Penrith Co-operative in a move that brought together the two largest independent co-operative societies in Scotland and Cumbria, and saw the nine Penrith stores operate under the new Lakes and Dales Co-operative trading name.
In 2014, Seaton Valley Co-op celebrated not only 50 years since the amalgamation of Seaton Delaval Co-op and Shiremoor Co-op, but also 150 years of co-operative trading in Seaton Delaval. Today the society employs around 100 staff in five retail outlets and a Post Office in the south east of Northumberland.
Following the announcement, executive teams from both Scotmid and Seaton Valley plan to work together to draw up a timetable and plans for a potential merger.