The Co-operative Food opened its 83rd new store of 2012 today, in Tangmere, West Sussex.
The launch of the Tangmere store, which follows a £1.8 million investment, is to be the last of the 83 new stores opened this year, including eight in a single day.
The business has completed two major acquisitions this year, purchasing Scottish convenience retailer David Sands in April and 10 Costcutter stores in Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Brentford last month.
£7 million was spent on rebranding the 28 David Sands stores in Fife, Kinross and Perthshire, and The Co-operative Food has also invested £3 million for the former Costcutter stores, which will undergo a full refit in 2013.
Over the last 18 months The Co-operative Food has doubled the size of its acquisitions team, and aims to cement its position as market leader in the convenience sector through acquisitions and new store launches.
As well as opening an average of two new stores every week, it doubled the size of its Alsager store in Cheshire this year and spent £3 million on transforming the Sandwich store in Kent and £2 million on the Wherrytown store in Cornwall.
Commenting on the past year, The Co-operative Food‘s Head of Portfolio Strategy and Acquisitions, Stuart Hookins, said: “Our new store development strategy was ambitious this year, but we have managed to deliver more than 80 new stores in a challenging climate.
“The acquisition of the David Sands chain in Scotland at the start of the year and more recently the Costcutter stores in London, as well as our ongoing development activity, highlights our ambition to expand our food store estate.
Noting that the new launches had increased the business‘s presence, particularly in Scotland and London, he added: “We are focused on the convenience sector and we are committed to reviewing and investing in our store estate and seeking new opportunities at the heart of local communities right across the UK.
“The race for space in convenience is moving up a gear and as one of the largest and most successful convenience store operators, The Co-operative is continuing to target, and invest in, this sector.”