The Co-operative Group is facing vociferous opposition as it attempts to dispose of around 100 of the stores it acquired when it bought the Alldays and Balfour chains. The group would prefer to sell the unwanted stores as going concerns. But where there is no prospect of a sale, the only other option is closure.

Twenty-three post offices are caught up in the disposal plan, and that has angered people who face the prospect of being left without alternative services nearby. A Balfour in Maidenhead, Berkshire is one of the c-stores earmarked for closure. The Furze Platt Road outlet will shut on September 17 and the store’s post office operation will cease on November 19. The closure, which follows a review of the 714 acquired stores, has prompted residents to voice their dismay in the local press.

While expressing regret over the closure, a Co-op spokeswoman said the group remained committed to community retailing. “In the past year we have invested million of pounds in new stores as well as refitting and converting local stores to our popular Welcome convenience and Market Town supermarket formats,” she said. “Out of the 714 c-stores we acquired in the past 30 months, a minority, predominantly ex-Alldays and Balfours, do not meet the requirements for our business proposition and are not performing as well as we would like.”