MANCHESTER, 03-Jan-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — The Co-op is set to ramp up its investment in Scotland in 2018, with plans to open 18 brand new stores and upgrade a further 20. The convenience retailer, which already has a store in every postal area in the country, will invest £28 million in the extensive store expansion and renovation programme.
The move is set to create a further 275 jobs for Scottish people and will take the total number of Co-op employees in Scotland to almost 6,000.
New stores are lined up for Forres (Highlands), Kilmacolm (Renfrewshire), Kelty (Fife), Glasgow and Edinburgh, amongst other locations.
The expanded and upgraded estate will see the community retailer focus on offering the “ultimate” convenience store experience – with a wide range of fresh, healthy foods, meal ideas and essentials available, alongside increased ranges of own-brand and locally-sourced produce.
The announcement follows data released by Kantar Worldpanel, which shows that the Co-op is now the fourth largest retailer in Scotland, having seen sales growth of 3.1%* over the past year. It is also the country’s most visited grocery store with shoppers visiting, on average, twice a week.
John McNeill, the Co-op’s divisional managing director, said: “We invested heavily in Scotland in 2017 and we’re delighted to be ramping up activity yet again in 2018 with 18 new stores set to open their doors.
“Such sustained investment is indicative of our long and proud history in Scotland – we are passionate about serving the many diverse communities across the country and want to give shoppers the opportunity to buy what they want, when they want it, in great looking stores that also give back to the community.
“2017 has been a terrific year for the Co-op in Scotland and we know our story is really resonating with customers – not only from a sales point of view but also from a membership one. We’re proud to say that 500,000 new members have enjoyed earning a 5% reward for themselves, whilst at the same time giving out millions of pounds to Scottish good causes. We can’t wait to increase our presence further next year and look forward to welcoming a new generation of customers to our stores.”
The Co-op’s expansion in Scotland forms part of the retailer’s UK-wide plans to invest £160 million in 100 new stores and 150 store makeovers in 2018, which will create an estimated 1,600 jobs.
In October, hundreds of good causes across Scotland received a boost when the Co-op revealed it would be sharing out £1.5 million across 543 organisations. The latest round of pay-outs from the retailer’s Local Community Fund brings the total amount donated to groups and charities in Scotland to just under £3 million since the Co-op’s membership scheme launched last September.
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