Co-op to open 100 new food shops in 2017
The Co-op is to invest £70 million in 100 new stores across the country next year, creating 1,500 jobs.
The retail giant said it will focus on opening stores in London and the South East, with five new sites in the capital before the end of March.
Other new stores will open in Swansea, Kings Bromley in Staffordshire, Beverley in East Yorkshire, Northfields in East Lothian and Sheffield.
The business opened a similar number of stores in 2016.
Stuart Hookins, property portfolio and development director at the Co-op, said: "The Co-op has a clear food strategy, which is to deliver a great and convenient shopping experience for millions of members and customers on a daily basis. As part of this strategy, our acquisitions programme is fundamental to its success, and we are actively seeking new opportunities.
"Whilst other retailers are scaling back their expansion plans, the Co-op continues to open new convenience stores. We opened 100 stores in 2016, and we plan to open hundreds more new stores over the next few years.
"We are the fastest growing non-discounter and most frequently visited. Our new stores will ensure even more shoppers can visit the Co-op."
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "The Co-op's decision is fantastic news for our retail sector and a further vote of confidence in the UK economy.
"This Government is determined to create an economy that works for all, which is why our upcoming industrial strategy will focus on creating an environment where businesses big and small can thrive."