The Co-operative completes the highest number of store launches since the Somerfield acquisition

20 December 2012

The Co-operative Food will open its 83rd new store of 2012 today (20 December 2012) as part of its long-term programme to expand and invest in its food store estate.

The business, which has completed two major business acquisitions this year, has launched 15 stores across the country in December, with eight stores opening in just one day.

It is one of the largest acquisition and development programmes The Co-operative has undertaken since the Somerfield acquisition, and is part of its sustained investment in new stores to cement its position as market leader in the convenience sector.

The Co-operative Food will open the last of its 83 outlets of the year today in Tangmere, West Sussex, when the brand new store will launch following a £1.8m investment.

This follows the acquisition of 10 Costcutter stores located in Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Brentford last month, and also the purchase of Scottish convenience retailer, David Sands, and its 28 stores in Fife, Kinross and Perthshire, in April.

All the David Sands stores have now been rebranded, following a £7 million investment programme to convert them into Co-operative Food outlets. All the former Costcutter stores have also been rebranded and will undergo a full refit in 2013, following an investment of £3 million.

The Co-operative has ramped up its activity and launched 83 stores in 2012, averaging almost two stores per week, as part of its ongoing acquisition and new store development strategy. It has also completed several major extension projects this year, including a scheme to double the size of its Alsager store in Cheshire, as well as the £3m transformation of its Sandwich store in Kent and a £2m scheme in Wherrytown, Cornwall.

Stuart Hookins, Head of Portfolio Strategy and Acquisitions for The Co-operative Food, said:

“Our new store development strategy was ambitious this year, but we have managed to deliver more than 80 new stores in a challenging climate.

“The acquisition of the David Sands chain in Scotland at the start of the year and more recently the Costcutter stores in London, as well as our ongoing development activity, highlights our ambition to expand our food store estate.

“All our newly launched stores are in excellent locations, increasing our presence in key locations across Scotland and central and Greater London. They also complement our existing network and are valuable additions to our portfolio.

“We are focused on the convenience sector and we are committed to reviewing and investing in our store estate and seeking new opportunities at the heart of local communities right across the UK. The race for space in convenience is moving up a gear and as one of the largest and most successful convenience store operators, The Co-operative is continuing to target, and invest in, this sector.”

The Co-operative Food’s acquisitions team, which has doubled in size over the last 18 months, is focusing on properties between 2,000sq ft and 4,000sq ft, on both a leasehold and freehold basis, in high street and local community locations across the UK.

During the year The Co-operative has also launched several flagship stores in key locations, including the Royal College of Art in Battersea and in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.

For further information, please contact:

Kieran Howlett                                                                     
Senior Public Relations Officer
The Co-operative Group
07739 657 585