Retail chain to begin £9m rebranding of Co-op stores
UK grocery retail chain McColl's has said it will start rebranding its five new Northern Ireland properties as early as December.
The convenience store chain bought over five Co-op stores here as part of a multi-million pound deal to buy nearly 300 Co-op stores.
It's understood the rebrand will cost almost £9m to roll out nationally - averaging around £30,000 a store.
McColl's said it would not sell on the Northern Ireland acquisitions, but added it had no plans to buy any more stores in the province.
The five stores affected by the deal are on Whitewell Road in north Belfast, Abbots Cross in Newtownabbey, Dunclug in Ballymena, Tandragee in Co Armagh and Main Street in Bangor, Co Down.
Chief operating officer Dave Thomas said the firm was "enthusiastic" and "very open-minded" about entering the market in Northern Ireland.
"We see ourselves as a neighbourhood retailer - we are very much part of the communities in which we operate," he said.
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"Most of our staff and certainly all of our customers would live locally and we raise funds for local charities - we like to do anything we can.
"We like to keep a local presence in the stores.
"We offer a core range which makes up around 90% of our products but we will also offer local products alongside that if we feel customers would want them."
"We have no greater plans beyond that at the moment."
Mr Thomas added: "We don't currently trade in Northern Ireland and over the last few months we have been focused on landing this significant deal but we are very enthusiastic and open-minded about it."
McColl's has said its stores offer a similar service and product range to Co-op.
But the deal still needs to be cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK.