The Co-op has announced plans to create 1,000 new jobs through an estate expansion programme that will see three new stores open every week until December.
It will open more than 65 stores new and extended stores, with more than 100 further outlets receiving major makeovers as part of a £130m investment programme.
It also announced that up to 12 new Co-op franchise stores are set to launch this year, including at Oxford Brookes University and Stirling University – with more university locations planned for 2021.
Recent Co-op research found that 70% of adults have relied on their local convenience store where they can shop quickly, easily and safely, with shoppers popping to their local store more than three times each week on average.
Co-op property managing Director David Roberts said: “Co-op works to operate at the heart of local life, making a difference in its communities. Multiple factors motivate consumers, with ease, choice and added services chief among them. We continually look for new locations, sites which are definitively convenient in their community – closer to our Members and customers with proximity shopping a key consumer consideration. Co-operation is a fundamental part of our DNA, and through our partnership approach we are enriching our offer to make convenience truly compelling in our communities.”
The investment in jobs was welcomed by Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman. “Convenience stores have firmly established themselves as a place that local communities can rely on, not just for groceries but for a growing range of services that have kept the nation going during the last few months. This commitment to investing in stores in the coming months is testament to the importance of the convenience sector and the role that local shops play in people’s everyday lives.”