The community retailer will invest over £160 million in new stores and major makeovers for a further 150 of its outlets.
More than 20 new stores are set to open in London, 10 in Wales including Rhayader (Powys) and Bryncoch (Neath), and 18 in Scotland including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Forres (Highlands) and Kilmacolm (Renfewshire). New destinations for England include Blackpool, Bristol, Chesterfield, Crewe, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Southampton and York.
The news follows the announcement last month that the Co-op has reached an agreement to become exclusive wholesale supplier to the 2,200 stores across the Costcutter Supermarkets Group network from Spring 2018.
In addition, members of Nisa Retail have voted in favour of the Co-op’s offer to buy the delivered wholesale and convenience retail specialist – a move which is conditional on Competition and Markets Authority approval.
The new-look stores will see the Co-op – which this year won the title of Convenience Retailer of the Year in the Retail Industry Awards – focus on offering a wide range of fresh, healthy foods, meal ideas and essentials, alongside increased ranges of own-brand and locally-sourced produce.
The Co-op (which has reverted to its ‘clover leaf’ design log, first used in the 1960s) also brings a funding boost to good causes at each of its stores. Members receive a 5% reward when they buy own-brand products and services, and the Co-op donates a further 1% to local community groups. In 2017 the Co-op shared £20 million with around 8,000 local groups, charities and good causes.
Co-op director of portfolio and development Stuart Hookins said: “The Co-op’s extensive acquisitions and refit programme is a fundamental part of our food strategy. Our expansion plans for 2018 will mean that the Co-op is on track to have opened at least 100 new stores in each of three consecutive years.
“With over one million new active members joining us in the last year, we’re always looking for new locations to get closer to where our members and customers live and work and to meet their shopping needs conveniently. Our members are now telling us where they would like to see a new Co-op store opening to serve their community through our suggest-a-site website.”
Co-op members can suggest where they would like to see a new store opening to serve their community by visiting https://www.coop.co.uk/forms/suggest-a-site. If their suggestion is successful, they will receive £500 in Co-op gift vouchers.
Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, added: “The Co-op is positively responding to the changes occurring within this dynamic sector. Our food business is going from strength to strength in what is clearly a challenging retail market. We have the ambition for our stores to be at the heart of local life, bringing communities together and offering our members and customers great quality products when and where they need them.”