Co-op defies gloom with 100 shops in city centres
THE Co-op is planning to buck the trend on the high street by opening 100 new city-centre shops in 2019 as part of a £200m investment to meet the shift from big out-of-town supermarkets.
The spending will mean the chain will overtake the discounters Aldi and Lidl as the fastest expanding grocer.
As well as the new shops, which will be split between London, the Southeast, Wales and Scotland, the Co-op is planning to refurbish 200 older stores. It said that the combined investment could lead to around 1,500 jobs.
It will be the fourth consecutive year the Co-op has opened 100 new shops as it focuses on key city centre locations, transport hubs, university campuses and high rise residential developments.
The Co-op has steered a turnaround from a crisis sparked by its bank five years ago. It has focused on exploiting the shift in habits away from large weekly shopping trips to smaller, more frequent shops at convenience stores.
A Co-op spokesman said: “Shifts in consumer shopping trends has seen ease, speed and convenience continuing to rise in importance for timepressed shoppers.”
Figures from Barbour ABI earlier this year revealed that the Co-op had more planning applications for new stores than Aldi and Lidl.
The strategy has been paying off for the Co-op as profits nearly doubled in 2018 on the back of strong food sales and its £143m takeover of convenience chain Nisa. By the end of this year the business will supply 850 of its ownbranded product lines to Nisa partners.