Co-op focuses on London and South East expansion as it sets its sights on 100 new store openings next year

 
Francesca Washtell
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The Co-op recently rebranded (Source: The Co-operative Group)

The Co-operative Group is planning to spend £70m to open 100 new stores across the UK in 2017, creating around 1,500 new jobs.

The supermarket has said the new Co-op convenience outlets will be predominantly based in London and the South East, with other stores in Yorkshire, Scotland and Wales.

Read more: Co-operative Group profit drops despite increased revenue in first half

"Whilst other retailers are scaling back their expansion plans, the Co-op continues to open new convenience stores," said Stuart Hookins, property portfolio and development director at the group.

We opened 100 new stores in 2016, and we plan to open hundreds more new stores over the next few years.

Five stores are set to open in London before the end of March. Outside the capital, stores will also be popping up in Swansea, Northfields in East Lothian and Sheffield over the year.

Read more: Former Co-op Bank boss admits misconduct

Last week, the Competition and Markets Authority gave McColl's the green light to snap up 298 Co-op stores.

The Co-op is in the final year of a three-year turnaround programme, prompted for the most part by problems in its banking arm. Earlier this year, the group took a 25 per cent hit to the value of its stake in Co-op bank. It put a £145m value on its 20 per cent stake in the lender, down from £185m previously.

This month, the Co-op sold its travel arm to Thomas Cook for £55.8m.

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