The Co-operative Group has appointed two new regional acquisitions managers as it bids to open 100 new food stores in 2014.
It has named Mike Harrison as regional acquisitions manager for the North of England and Mark Draper for the Central and Eastern region.
Harrison joins the society from The Original Factory Shop. He has 35 years’ experience in property. He will identify and acquire new sites for food stores as well as store relocations, focusing on Cumbria, Northumberland and the North East. Draper joins from Genting Casinos. He has 18 years’ experience and has worked for Bass, Greenall’s and Hardys. At The Co-op, he will cover from South Yorkshire to north of the M25 and from Birmingham to East Anglia.
The society plans to open 100 new stores this year and is looking for sites from 2,000 sq ft to 4,000 sq ft in high street and local community locations. In 2010, it claimed it would open 300 stores in three years, but according to the Grocery Retail Structure, its estate fell from 2,865 to 2,792 stores in 2013.
In November, it also sold off a number of its larger “non-core” supermarkets to Waitrose.
“Mike has a huge amount of experience in the retail property sector and he will be integral to growing the food business across Northern England,” said Co-op Group national acquisitions manager Andrew Coles. “We are committed to our ongoing expansion plans across the country and Mark’s appointment demonstrates our dedication to that region.”