Co-op to open 100 new stores in 2018 as it continues expansion
The Co-op has confirmed plans to open 100 new stores across the UK this year, creating an estimated 1,600 jobs, as part of a continued drive to expand its footprint across the country.
The retailer is spending more than £160m on new store launches, with more than 20 set to open in London, 10 in Wales and 18 in Scotland. The group will also invest in major renovations for around 150 existing outlets.
Elsewhere in the country, stores will be appearing in Blackpool, Bristol, Chesterfield, Crewe, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Southampton and York.
Co-op’s rapid growth campaign comes as rival retailers, including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, have scaled back plans to open new stores amid worries about shifting consumer habits, with customers increasingly preferring to shop online.
Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said the chain was “positively responding” to the changes occurring within the dynamic retail sector, with the food business going “from strength to strength in what is clearly a challenging retail market”.
Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s director of portfolio and development, said the expansion plans for 2018 meant that the Co-op was on track to have opened at least 100 new stores in each of three consecutive years.
Discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl are also rapidly expanding their networks, having filed at least 90 planning applications for new supermarkets in 2017, according to figures compiled by Barbour ABI. By stark comparison, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons had together filed a total of just 11 by October of last year.
In November, the Co-op struck a deal to supply 2,500 Costcutter shops across the UK from spring 2018. The contract win came just two weeks after the Co-op narrowly won approval from Nisa members for its £143m takeover of the convenience chain.