co-op shoreditch

New openings will include new-format food-to-go stores at Baker Street Underground station and Tower Hill

The Co-op has allocated about a third of its 100 new store openings planned for 2019 to London and the south east as part of a £200m investment programme.

This will be the fourth consecutive year the society has lined up at least 100 annual openings.

The slew of new outlets will build on the retailer’s continued growth in and around the M25 - a similar number opened in the region in 2018 - as it prepares for the expected opening in 2022 of a £45m, 661,000 sq ft distribution depot just off the A1 at Symmetry Park, Biggleswade, in Bedfordshire.

New London outlets will include Berwick Street, Soho; Chiswick; Greenwich; Ilford; Queen’s Park and new-format food-to-go stores at Baker Street Underground station and in a railway arch at the Minories, Tower Hill, following the its launch of its first in Manchester Piccadilly station opening in November.

Read more: Central England Co-op invests over £13.4m in new stores

More than 40 new or improved Co-op stores will open in Scotland this year - including sites in Alford, Aberdeenshire; Banchory, Edinburgh; Falkirk; Forres; Galston and Glasgow.

Wales will see at least 10 new stores, including Cardiff; Carmarthen; Hendreforgan; Machen; Penygroes; Prestatyn and St Athan.

A further 200 stores will undergo “major makeovers” as part of a combined £200m store the investment programme.

A spokesman said the Co-op could be confident of delivering at least 100 new stores because it had worked to develop a pipeline of sites and received approaches from property owners and developers, and from Co-op members who identified potential sites for new stores in their community.

He said while there had been a focus on key city centre locations, including the acquisition of four Little Waitrose stores that opened last year in Birmingham, London and Manchester (two), university campuses and train stations had also provided locations for new outlets, as had new residential developments and existing communities in towns and rural villages.

Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s director of portfolio and development, said: “Shifts in consumer shopping trends has seen ease, speed and convenience continuing to rise in importance for time-pressed shoppers. The right location and range tailored to fulfil the shopping needs of a community is a cornerstone of our approach, and there has been an evolution in how we choose new locations and innovate our offer.

“This year will be the fourth consecutive year of opening around 100 new stores, and investing in a core convenience estate which has seen over four years of consecutive like-for-like sales growth.”