Mutual retailer The Co-operative Group has announced today that it is to acquire three new stores currently operating as Budgens, with plans to convert them to its Co-operative Food branding before Christmas.
All 36 staff currently employed at the outlets, at Amesbury and Wilton, in Wiltshire, and at Didcot, in Oxfordshire, will transfer to the Co-op when the change is finalised.
Co-op Food, the UK’s fifth largest food retailer, is focusing on expansion and is looking to stores, either leasehold or freehold, of under 3,000sq ft, particularly in high street and local community locations for further acquisitions.
It has a rolling programme to open more than 300 food outlets across the UK over the next three years, employing more than 7,000 people.
“These three stores are just the sort of locations we’re looking for, and will complement our existing store network,” Martin Vickerman, The Co-operative Food’s recently-appointed Business Development Manager, commented.
“They will be valuable additions to our portfolio, and mark another important step in our ambitious plans to expand. We are in negotiations with a range of other retailers regarding further acquisitions next year.”
In order to further emphasise its dedication to growing its existing store network, the group is staging two networking events in the South West and Wales to target new stores across these regions.
Being held in Bristol on Thursday, 24 November, and Cardiff on Friday, 25 November, the events are open to property developers, agents and landlords who can meet the retailer’s Food property team.
Earlier this year, the group announced the expansion of the team, appointing Gareth Dexter as Regional Acquisitions Manager for the South West, and John Hillman as Regional Acquisitions Manager for South Wales.
Prior to this, Matt Long was appointed Senior Acquisitions Manager for the South, with responsibility for the acquisitions managers in the South, including the South West and Wales.
Stuart Hookins, The Co-operative Food’s Head of Portfolio Strategy, Acquisitions and Disposals, said that the retailer is specifically looking for new areas to build a presence across the South West and Wales.
“We are actively searching for new opportunities to grow the business and this is a great opportunity to meet and work with agents, landlords and developers to identify the right properties in the right locations and in the heart of local communities across both these regions,” Hookins explained.