The Co-operative Food has agreed a deal to lease 54 pub sites from the Marston’s Plc public house portfolio owned by NewRiver Retail.
Last month chief executive of The Co-operative’s retail division, Steve Murrells, revealed that the Food business plans to open more than 100 new convenience stores this year.
This is the first major lease agreement that the business has secured since that announcement. The Co-operative Group is currently expanding with the aim of opening 150 food stores nationwide a year.
The pub sites are located throughout the UK but with a concentration in central, eastern and northern England. The majority will be new build projects to be built on surplus land adjacent to the existing public houses. A smaller number of public houses will be either converted to convenience store use or redeveloped as standalone convenience retail stores, while some of the assets will be significantly expanded in size through the addition of an extension or new-build.
Finished unit sizes will range from 3,000sq ft to 4,500sq ft, and the first of the new stores is expected to open early in 2015.
Steve Murrells said: “The Co-operative Group has a clear vision to establish itself as the best local food retailer in the UK and over the coming years our focus will be to develop and grow our existing convenience estate of over 2,000 stores.”