THE Co-op has confirmed plans to open 100 new stores across the UK this year, creating an estimated 1,600 jobs.
The supermarket will spend more than £160 million on the new shops, as well as on major makeovers for a further 150 of its existing outlets.
More than 20 new stores will open in London, up to 18 in Scotland, 10 in Wales and others in English cities including York, Plymouth and Bristol.
“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,” Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said.
“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,” she added.
Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s director of portfolio and development, said the retailer’s 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.
He added: “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.”
In November, the supermarket struck a deal to supply 2,500 Costcutter shops across the UK from spring 2018.
Members of Nisa, last year, also voted in favour of the Co-op’s offer to buy the convenience chain.
This deal still has to be approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Last year, the Co-op fell to sixth position among the UK’s leading supermarket chains after being overtaken by budget supermarket Aldi.
The Sun revealed that nearly £1 in £8 of supermarket spending is at Aldi and Lidl.
This compares to just £1 in every £25 a decade ago.