East of England Co-operative Society is in talks with Vergo Retail to sell its department and homestores business.

The society had planned to sell just four department stores, but said talks had now been extended to include five department stores, six homestores and a jewellery department.

"The co-operative movement has generally moved away from operating department stores and no longer has the scale of purchasing power it once had in this area," said CEO Richard Samson.

"These stores represent less than 6% of our total society business."