CWS has put 16 of its superstores up for sale ­ and is confident they will be quickly snapped up by rival retailers. John Bowes, chief general manager marketing, insisted the Co-op was not trying to flog off its "dogs". He said the auction formed part of the society's strategy of focusing on c-stores and market town supermarkets. The money generated will be reinvested in these two areas. CWS plans to add 60 stores this year ­ on top of the 11 bought from Somerfield for £90m. It is also rolling out the new Welcome c-store format ­ with the first batch of 25 CRS shops due to be converted by October. And a decision on the launch of the Co-op's new market town store format could be made soon. Bowes said the 16 superstores ­ most of which have sales areas of more than 20,000 sq ft ­ no longer had a place in the society's portfolio either because of poor trading or lack of potential. Eight of the 16 were operated by CRS, now merged with CWS. They are in Burnley, Leigh, Worcester, Bishopsworth, Baglan Moor, Rhyd-y-Blew, Leytonstone and Gorton. The others are in Addlestone, Carolgate, Westwood, Worksop, Studley, Maryhill, Inshes and Berryden. CWS expects to offload all 16 within 12 months. Bowes was confident the first sales would be completed very quickly. Potential buyers were staying tightlipped. Morrisons said it would look at stores of an "appropriate size", while Asda said only that it was aware of the sell off. Safeway will also be taking a look. The Co-op admits its superstores have been "zapped" by "the Wal-Mart factor". Nevertheless, the society insists it will continue to operate larger stores wherever it makes commercial sense and has no plans to offload more. {{NEWS }}