The Co-Operative has confirmed an investment of £160 million as the supermarket chain plans to open 100 new stores across the UK, creating an estimated 1,600 jobs.
The retailer has said that more than 20 new stores are set to open in London, while there will also be new outlets lined up for Bristol and Manchester among other towns and cities across the UK.
Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive of Co-op Food said: “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.”
Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s Director of Portfolio and Development added: “The Co-op’s extensive acquisitions and refit programme is a fundamental part of our food strategy. Moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum, 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 are 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.”
The investment will also see makeovers for a further 150 of its current outlets with the new look stores seeing the Co-op 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 news follows twin announcements last month as the Co-op confirmed it had reached an agreement to become exclusive wholesale supplier to the 2,200 stores across the Costcutter Supermarkets Group network from spring 2018.
While members of Nisa Retail also 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 (CMA) approval.