Midcounties hires new property chief as it begins investment programme for 2022

Kathryn Lyddon joins the retail co-op as it confirms plans for 10 new food stores, costing more than £5m

Midcounties Co-op has appointed Kathryn Lyddon as its head of property as it embarks on its investment programme for 2022.

Midcounties, which operates food retail, childcare, travel, online healthcare and utilities trading groups under the Your Co-op brand, has confirmed plans to open 10 new food stores in 2022 at a total investment of more than £5m.

On 6 January it opened a new state of the art nursery in Emerson’s Green, Bristol, with another two nursery openings scheduled for this year as part of a £1.8m investment in its nurseries in 2022; the co-op wants to double the size of its nursery portfolio over the next five years.

Ms Lyddon has been hired to provide professional expertise and support across the Midcounties’ property portfolio, which spans more than 220 Your Co-op Food stores, 48 Your Co-op Little Pioneers nurseries and 76 Your Co-op Travel branches, as well as offices in Warwickshire and Walsall.

Her responsibilities include leading and developing property strategy, optimising and maximising the society’s asset portfolio value, minimising commercial risk, supporting the trading groups to improve sales and contribution through the right property decisions and creating partnerships with developers, suppliers and external professionals to increase revenues.

Further to this, says Midcounties, she will help to ensure that the society’s property portfolio contributes to its sustainability strategy and carbon reduction plans.

She joins the society with 17 years of UK and international experience, with a number of management roles, working largely with Tesco in its convenience, online and international businesses.

Midcounties CEO Phil Ponsonby said: “Wwe’ve committed to significant capital investment over the next five years – especially in our Food and Childcare businesses. Kathryn’s appointment as head of property will not only help us to deliver against our growth and sustainability strategies, but also help us generate even greater benefit for our members and the communities in which we operate.”

Ms Lyddon said: “I’m really excited to be joining an organisation with ethical values at its core and which puts its members and local communities at the heart of everything they do. I’m looking forward to leading the team and supporting the wider Society as it continues its ambitious investment, development and growth plans.”