Scotmid and Penrith Co-operatives have agreed to merge, subject to member approval.

The boards of the two societies have agreed in principle to combine, and will now begin a process of sharing information. If the members of the two organisations agree, the merger is expected to take place in the Autumn of this year.

Scotmid Co-operative operates 350 sites across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England, employing nearly 5,000 staff and with total sales of £428m.

Penrith Co-operative is Cumbria’s largest independent co-operative society, employing 179 staff in nine retail outlets and post offices across Cumbria and County Durham. Turnover for the year ending January 7, 2013 was £13m.