The Midcounties Co-operative is the name of a new UK co-operative society with 180,000 members and 7,000 employees.

The new £500 million a year organisation is the result of a merger between the West Midlands Co-operative Society and the larger Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op.

The merger becomes effective on September 24, creating the fourth largest co-operative society in the country.

The Midcounties Co-operative will run 350 retail stores and a range of other businesses including retail, pharmacies, motor sales, childcare nurseries, care homes, funeral homes and more.

Ben Reid, chief executive of West Midlands Co-op said: "Members of both societies have backed the merger all the way.

"The new name, the Midcounties Co-operative, not only conveys our location in the heart of the UK but also positions it as a major business covering a substantial trading area."

Bob Burlton, chief executive, of Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op, said: "The creation of this new UK society is excellent news for the movement as it will enable us to further both our aims of running a successful, values driven business that also promotes cooperation and benefits local communities."

The West Midlands Co-op is based in Walsall, with trading outlets from Shropshire to Worcestershire.

It employs more than 2,200 people across more than 150 trading outlets, and has an active membership of 49,000. In its last financial year, it had a turnover of £176 million.

Mr Burlton becomes chief executive of Midcounties Co-operative, while Ben Reid will be acting chief executive designate.