Thirty-six former Somerfield stores will be converted to Budgens as part of The Co-operative Group’s sale of nearly 90 properties to retail investor Hilco.

The Co-op has sold 36 stores and an additional 50 non-core properties from its former Somerfield estate to The Food Retailer Group, a part of Hilco.

All of the properties were acquired by the Co-op in 2008 as part of its £1.6bn takeover of Somerfield.

The 36 trading stores will continue to trade while switching to the Budgens brand, and all employees will TUPE transfer, resulting in no planned redundancies. The transfer is expected to complete in July.

Steve Murrells, CEO of Co-op Food, said: “The Co-op Food business is moving forwards with a clear purpose and momentum, so we can deliver a compelling, convenient and co-operative shopping experience for millions of shoppers each day.  It is essential that we have a proactive property programme in place to support our long-term growth strategy and this sale aligns with that approach.

“This agreement ensures that 920 colleagues will continue in their jobs and have their terms and conditions maintained post-sale.”

Murrells added that the sale sits within the Group’s property programme in support of the food strategy, which saw the business open 97 new stores in 2015, with a further 100 planned for this year.

Hilco specialises in restructuring distressed and underperforming business assets such as Woolworths, Habitat and Clinton Cards, often after being appointed by the official receiver. Current UK investments include HMV and Denby.