United Co-op is on the acquisition trail, with up to 20 new stores in the pipeline over the next three months and a similar number of newsagents to be added to existing stores. Over 200 stores will have received the Going for Blue conversion to the Late Shop format by January, with another 100 conversions planned for the following fiscal year, said food division general manager Paul Griffiths: "The convenience store business now accounts for over 70% of turnover [at the food division], and this is where we are placing our energy and strategic focus." Like-for-like sales growth in the convenience estate was up 4.2% for the half year to August 11. Turnover in this segment was up 9.5%. Talks are also progressing with Consignia to develop stores with post office facilities in combi units. Griffiths said the society was "not afraid of making tough decisions" about its five remaining superstores if any proved unviable. {{NEWS }}

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