The Midcounties Co-operative has been formed following the merger of the West Midlands and Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester (OS&G) societies.

The merger takes effect from September 24 and will create the fourth largest co-op in the country, with 180,000 members and 7,000 staff. Combined turnover is in excess of £550m.

The new chain will operate 350 retail outlets including food stores, pharmacies, funeral homes and travel agents. It will be headed by OS&G chief executive Bob Burlton, with his counterpart at West Midlands Ben Reid acting chief executive designate.