Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds of Co-op stores may be sold off

By Ben Woods

The Co-operative is considering selling off hundreds of stores as it ramps up plans to revive the business following its near collapse after the financial crisis.

The troubled mutual has earmarked about 300 stores from a "non-convenience" estate of 700 shops which it may put on the market, according to sources.

It is said to have recruited investment bank Rothschild to drum up interest from prospective buyers, pinpointing small food retailers and discount chains as potential suitors, Sky News reported.

The company is considering the large-scale sale as its bosses sharpen their focus on convenience shopping, but the proposal is still in the early stages and may not go ahead.

The Co-op sold off 91 food stores last year, raising £175m, because they no longer dovetailed with its "focus on convenience shopping".

It is also trying to offload a tranche of shops it acquired following its ill-fated takeover of Somerfield in 2011. The Co-op Group declined to comment.

Belfast Telegraph