The Co-operative Food has opened its 83rd new store this year as it completes one of its largest acquisition and development programmes since the Somerfield acquisition in 2008.

The business has launched 15 stores across the country in December alone, with eight stores opening in just one day.

Its latest outlet was opened in Tangmere, West Sussex on December 20, following a £1.8m investment.

This follows the acquisition in November of 10 London-based Costcutter stores, six of which were owned by the Sunstar Group and four by the Tothaal Group. The group also purchased Scottish convenience retailer David Sands and its 28 stores in April.

All the David Sands stores have now been rebranded, following a £7m investment programme to convert them into Co-operative Food outlets. All the former Costcutter stores have also been rebranded and will undergo a full refit in 2013.

Stuart Hookins, head of portfolio strategy and acquisitions for The Co-operative Food, said: “Our new store development strategy was ambitious this year, but we have managed to deliver more than 80 new stores in a challenging climate.

“All our newly launched stores are in excellent locations, increasing our presence in key locations across Scotland and central and Greater London. They also complement our existing network and are valuable additions to our portfolio.

“We are focused on the convenience sector and we are committed to reviewing and investing in our store estate andseeking new opportunities at the heart of local communities right across the UK.”