The Co-operative Group has bought seven Spar forecourt stores in North Yorkshire and Cleveland. The retailer fought off competition from a number of other players to acquire the stores from owner QMP, said QMP's property agent Christie & Co. There had been strong interest as all the sites were in affluent areas, said the agent. QMP was set up by Henry and Christine Kor­dowicz in 1997, when they bought Quarry Moor Services in Ripon. The move has taken the number of Co-op-owned forecourt sites to 85, said the group. It would strengthen its presence in the north of England, it added.