The Plymouth & South West Co-operative Society is to be incorporated into The Co-operative Group, it was announced yesterday.

Some 95% of members this week voted in favour of the merger, which will take place on 6 September.

The £154m society employs 1,700 staff across 68 food stores, 11 post offices, three petrol stations and 30 funeral homes. It recorded annual operating profits of £6.4m in January.

PSW chief executive Douglas Fletcher said the move would give employees enhanced job prospects and career progression and secure the long-term future of co-operative trading in the region.

“As we both share a common co-operative heritage, I am confident our members and regular shoppers will benefit from the extended services that will be offered once the Group has integrated our operations,” he added.

The merger would also strengthen The Co-op’s ability to compete effectively in tough markets, chief executive Peter Marks said.