Dozens of new Co-op supermarkets are set to open across the UK this year, creating up to 1,000 jobs.
The Co-operative Group announced around 55 new stores will open, up to 12 franchise stores will launch and 10 existing stores are set to be extended this year. Locations have not yet been confirmed.
The news is the latest sign of the strong growth enjoyed by UK supermarkets during the pandemic, which has outlasted early stockpiling with millions’ more households still eating more at home.
More than 100 other Co-op outlets will also receive “major makeovers,” as part of a £130m investment in stores.
The group announced more than 300 other stores have joined Nisa, a convenience store wholesaler owned by Co-op, since the start of the year.
Meanwhile Co-op says it is now the most widely available supermarket on Deliveroo, and more than 500 of its stores have also begun running John Lewis Click & Collect services.
David Roberts, managing director at Co-op Property, said: “We continually look for new locations, sites which are definitively convenient in their community – closer to our members and customers with proximity shopping a key consumer consideration.”
The Co-op is not the only major supermarket continuing to expand, with large grocers growing while many other retailers struggle to survive the pandemic and recession.
Tesco unveiled plans last week to hire 16,000 more permanent workers, including many temporary staff it took on during the early stages of the coronavirus crisis. Lidl and Aldi also plan to open a new store every week until the end of the year.
Recent analysis by Yahoo Finance UK found Britain’s seven biggest supermarkets have hired at least 136,000 new staff since the pandemic began.
The hiring spree significantly exceeds the 44,000 roles they vowed to create as Britain went into lockdown in March.