The Co-operative Group is to invest more than £8m in new store openings in the South West.

The convenience retailer, which already has 300 stores in the region, plans to open at least 10 new shops at sites in Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall this year.

Co-operative Group CEO Richard Pennycook said: “We are delighted to be making such a significant investment in the South West of England. New stores, more jobs, innovative partnerships with local suppliers and a £125m investment nationally in lowering the price of everyday essentials is great news for customers and communities across the South West and beyond. It’s a positive sign that we are getting on with the job of rebuilding the Co-op for our members.”

The Co-op claims that the move will also create 250 new jobs.

Business minister, Anna Soubry MP welcomed the investment: “Employment is up in the South West by over 200,000 since 2010 and I’m thrilled to see Co-op creating another 250 jobs for local people. Investments like these power our national economy and benefit local communities.”