THE Co-operative Group has big plans for 2017, with 100 new stores set to open across the country – creating 1,500 jobs.

Co-op will invest £70million in the new shops, which will be spread throughout the UK in London, South East England, Yorkshire and Scotland.

If they keep to schedule the Co-op will have opened five stores in London by the end of March. Other new stores will open in Swansea, Kings Bromley in Staffordshire, Beverley in East Yorkshire, Northfields in East Lothian and Sheffield. The business opened a similar number of stores in 2016.

The company is entering the last phase of a three-year turnaround programme after a period of disorder mostly to do with Co-op banking.

Stuart Hookins, property portfolio and development director at the Co-op, said:

“While other retailers are scaling back their expansion plans, the Co-op continues to open new convenience stores.

“We opened 100 stores in 2016, and we plan to open hundreds more new stores over the next few years.

“The Co-op has a clear food strategy, which is to deliver a great and convenient shopping experience for millions of members and customers on a daily basis. As part of this
strategy our acquisitions programme is fundamental to its success, and we are actively seeking new opportunities.

“We are the fastest growing non-discounter and most frequently visited. Our new stores will ensure even more shoppers can visit the Co-op.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The Co-op’s decision is fantastic news for our retail sector and a further vote of confidence in the UK economy. This Government is
determined to create an economy that works for all, which is why our upcoming industrial strategy will focus on creating an environment where businesses big and small can thrive.”