The Co-operative Group has agreed to offload 36 former Somerfield stores as it looks to place an emphasis on convenience shopping.
The mutual said Somerfield Stores Limited and its non-core property portfolio had been bought by the Food Retailer Group, an arm of business restructuring specialists Hilco Capital, adding that the move would not lead to store closures or redundancies, as 920 staff move over to the new company under a TUPE transfer agreement.
The Co-op sold off 91 food stores last year, raising £175m, because they weren’t in line with the chain’s plans for convenience shopping.
“It is essential that we have a proactive property programme in place to support our long-term growth strategy and this sale aligns with that approach,” said Steve Murrells, CEO of Co-op Food.
“The Co-op Food business is moving forwards with a clear purpose and momentum, so we can deliver a compelling, convenient and co-operative shopping experience for millions of shoppers each day,” said Co-op CEO Steve Murrells. “It is essential that we have a proactive property programme in place to support our long-term growth strategy and this sale aligns with that approach.
“An important consideration for us was that colleagues would have continued employment as a result of this sale, a principle we’ve applied to previous sales, including that of our pharmacy business to Bestway in 2014. This agreement ensures that 920 colleagues will continue in their jobs and have their terms and conditions maintained post-sale.”
It is understood that completion will take place in July 2016.