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Bestselling Lego lines in Co-op stores include Mighty Micros and Star Wars Y-Wing Microfighter

The Co-op is set to roll out a range of toys from Lego and Hasbro to a further 50 stores this year as part of its plans for its remaining larger stores.

The retailer first started selling the toys as part of a small trial in October 2016. Over the following 12 months the trial was extended to 77 stores - typically over 4,500 sq ft.

It told The Grocer this week that it now plans to have a one- or two-bay toy range in 127 stores after it saw a three-fold increase in sales.

“Last minute gifts just around the corner are driving the sales surge,” said Co-op toy buyer Katie Lee.

“With products at pocket-money prices up to a maximum of £20 it caters for either treats or gifts. As a community retailer, our aim is to deliver what our members and customers want, when and where they need it, and the added convenience of offering quality toys locally has received a great response.”

Bestselling Lego lines in Co-op stores include Mighty Micros and Star Wars Y-Wing Microfighter, while leading Hasbro lines include Trolls, My Little Pony and Marvel collectible figures.

Earlier this month The Co-op Group returned to profit for the first time since 2015 after it recorded £72m profits before tax for the year to 6 January. Like-for-like sales in its food business were up 3.4%, boosted by a 4.3% like-for-like growth in its core convenience estate.

Total food sales were flat at £7.1bn, reflecting the impact of the company’s strategy to close or sell off larger stores. However, Group CEO Steve Murrells said the disposals programme was now slowing down and that it had changed plans to offload some sites. “We are finding that convenience works in stores up to 8,500 sq ft and even 10,000 sq ft, so some stores originally on the disposals list are now coming off that list.”