The Co-operative Group is on track with its ambitious plans to absorb the Somerfield chain, having completed the conversion of its first nine stores in locations across the UK.

The group has invested just under £3m in the rebrands so far, with each store costing an average of £300,000.

The first two stores to be launched with the new Co-op fascia were in Tonypandy, South Wales, and New Milton in Hampshire. Each store was closed for five days while work was carried out.

The new-look stores were said to be well-recieved by the local people, with schoolchildren invited to join in the opening celebrations.

New Milton store manager Dani Ruiz-Perez said customer feedback was "extremely positive" and that many shoppers had already become Co-operative members.

Other Somerfield supermarkets refurbished and rebranded include Padiham, Lancashire; Worthing, West Sussex; and Tonyrefail and Newbridge in Wales.

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