The Co-op Group is set to open 12 new stores across London in the next 30 days, following a £9m investment.

The first locations to launch are Portman Square (Westminster), Rotherhithe Street (Southwark) and Hampton Road (Twickenham) – all with a focus on fresh, healthy foods, meal ideas and essentials.

Co-op’s property, strategy and development director, Stuart Hookins, said: “2018 has been one of our most successful years of new store openings, with more than 100 new stores opening their doors across the UK, over a third of which are in London and the South East, and we’re always looking for new locations where we can be at the heart of local life.

“It’s extremely encouraging to see how the rapid growth rate of our store portfolio bucks most high-street retail trends. We believe our success is due to launching the right stores, in the right locations. Ultimately, it’s all about getting closer to our members and customers, providing what they want, when and where they need it.

“In addition to this, our continued investment into the quality of our own-label products has helped to change the perception of the brand which in turn changes consumer shopping habits.”

The announcement follows Co-op Group’s £45m investment in a new distribution centre in Bedfordshire and the acquisition of a number of stores from Waitrose, in attempt to reach its target of opening 100 new stores in 2018.

“As well as being hubs for the local community, our stores are committed to providing a consistently brilliant in-store experience, allowing customers living in busy urban areas to access what they need with ease,” Hookins added.

“These new store launches, together with our ever growing range of locally-sourced produce and increasing member numbers put us in a strong position for the future as we look towards further expansion in 2019 and beyond.”

A number of offers and promotions in and around the new stores to mark their launch are on offer, with students in Greater London receiving a 10% discount off their groceries if holding an NUS card.