The Midlands and Anglia Co-operative societies have announced an intention to merge.

If successful, the combined estates would total over 250 stores and filling stations. The Midlands Co-operative currently has 200 stores and 15 filling stations with a view to opening another 15 stores before the end of the year, while Anglia Co-operative has 27 food stores and eight filling stations with two more food stores in the pipeline.

Their combined membership would amount to 329,000 with 8,600 employees and gross sales in excess of £1bn.

Midlands Co-operative Society chief executive Martyn Cheatle said the merger would allow both societies the opportunity to grow. “Both of our Societies have a strategy for growth and by coming together we can not only secure our long term future but also grow and invest so that our businesses thrive making us even better placed to deliver on our commitment to our local communities and members.”

Anglia Co-operative Society chief executive John Chillcot said: “The competition in our core businesses is fierce and we have to robustly respond with investment in new locations, improved systems, and competitive value and service to our customers. The merger will create the scale and resources necessary to compete and provide greater opportunity to members and staff.”

The proposal has been put forward to both sets of members for a vote and if successful, the legal formation of the merged society is expected to take place in early December of this year.