The Midcounties Co-operative is to buy seven new stores from The Co-operative Group, six of them former Somerfield branches, for an undisclosed sum.

Some 240 employees will transfer to Midcounties when the Society takes ownership of the supermarkets and convenience stores on 29 July.

The seven shops will all be rebranded as Co-operative foodstores and the first, in Kingswinsford, will start trading under the new name on 30 July, with the others to follow later.

“We are very pleased to be purchasing these stores and delighted to be able to retain such a large number of jobs across the West Midlands, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire,” said Midcounties chief executive Ben Reid.

“We saw this as a great opportunity to further expand our business and in the Co-operative way to provide an ethical, quality, value for money service to local people.”