The Co-operative Group has signed off a deal to open 63 new convenience stores on existing or former Marston pub sites.

The deal to lease the sites from NewRiver Retail will give the Co-op 215,000sq ft of new retail space, a 7% increase from the initial agreement of 54 stores announced in April. The c-stores will range in size from 3,000sq ft to 4,200sq ft and are expected to open from summer 2015.

The majority of the stores will be constructed on surplus land and car park areas, while the remainder will involve conversions and new builds on the sites of existing pubs.

The deal reflects the Co-op’s objective to open 150 stores a year in a bid to establish itself as the number one c-store retailer in the UK.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-operative Retail Division, said: “The Co-operative Group has a clear vision to establish itself as the best local food retailer in the UK and over the coming years our focus will be to develop and grow our existing convenience estate of over 2,000 shops. The key to our focus is our new store opening programme where we intend to open 150 new stores each year.

“We are delighted to be working with NewRiver Retail and this significant transaction is a great example of the innovative and industry leading transactions we are undertaking as a part of our ambitious convenience expansion plans.”