The Co-operative Group has revealed plans to open more than 300 stores in the next three years.

Speaking at the IGD Convenience Retailing Conference, director of food retail operations David Mockford said the group was set to “go back on the acquisition trail with a vengeance”.

The growth would come at a time when competition in the convenience sector was at its hottest, he added. “It’s going to get harder. Multiples are targeting the convenience sector more. Any increase in store numbers is down to the multiples, at the expense of the unaffiliated independents.”

The group would also be introducing new management and stocking systems across its estate in 2012.

As well as cutting back on the number of job titles in the group to create a more consistent structure, it is planning to implement a new central stock replenishment system that locks down range and ordering for each store. It is hoped that this new method will improve availability in stores by 2%.

The Co-operative Group currently has 2,800 stores.