1600 jobs are set to be created as Co-op reveals ambitious plans to open 100 new food stores over the next year in an effort to recoup some market share.
The £160 million investment will also see the grocer’s current 150 stores undergo a “major makeover”.
Alongside new stores in York, Plymouth and Bristol, Co-op will open 20 new London stores, 10 new Welsh stores and 18 new Scottish sites.
The news comes as Co-op awaits a decision from the Competition and Markets Authority on its proposed £143 million takeover of convenience store chain Nisa.
A similar deal between rival Tesco and supplier Booker was recently given the green light.
Late last year, Co-op also secured a deal to supply 2200 Costcutter stores across the UK as its former supplier Palmer & Harvey fell into administration.
“The Co-op is positively responding to the changes occurring within this dynamic sector,” Co-op’s chief executive Jo Whitfield said.
“Our food business is going from strength to strength in what is clearly a challenging retail market.
“We have the ambition for our stores to be at the heart of local life, bringing communities together and offering our members and customers great quality products when and where they need them.”
Co-op’s director of portfolio and development Stuart Hookins added: “The Co-op’s extensive acquisitions and refit programme is a fundamental part of our food strategy.
“Moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum, our expansion plans for 2018 will mean that the Co-op is on track to have opened at least 100 new stores in each of three consecutive years.
“With over one million new active members joining us in the last year, we are always looking for new locations to get closer to where our members and customers live and work and to meet their shopping needs conveniently.”