The Midcounties Co-operative is buying seven new stores, including a number of former Somerfield branches in the West Midlands, as it expands.
About 240 employees will transfer to Midcounties when the society takes ownership of the supermarkets and convenience stores on July 29.
Midcounties bought all seven stores from The Co-operative Group, owners of the Somerfield chain. The six former Somerfield stores are in Kingswinford, Wednesfield, Quinton, Cheltenham, Churchdown in Gloucestershire, and Towcester, Northamptonshire. The deal also includes a Co-operative Group ‘Co-op Welcome’ store in Towcester.
The seven shops will all be re-branded as Co-operative food stores and the first – Kingswinsford – will start trading under the new name on July 30, with the others to follow later.
Midcounties chief executive Ben Reid said: “We are very pleased to be purchasing these stores and delighted to be able to retain such a large number of jobs across the West Midlands, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire. We extend a warm welcome to our new employees.
“We saw this as a great opportunity to further expand our business and in the Co-operative way to provide an ethical, quality, value-for-money service to local people.
“A retail co-operative is different from any other retailer because it is owned by its customers who control it and benefit from it. We ensure that everything we do profits our members and the wider community.
“We are looking forward to welcoming new and existing customers to the seven stores and building links with local people and organisations.”
Midcounties Co-operative is based in Oxford and Walsall, with trading outlets stretching to Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and surrounding counties. The Co-operative Group yesterday completed its £1.6 billion takeover of grocery chain Somerfield announced in March, a move which made it the country’s fifth-largest food retailer.
The tie-up created a chain of 3,000 outlets with a market share of eight per cent and annual sales of more than £7 billion. It also marked the end for Somerfield, which started as a family shop 130 years ago.