Co-op offloads Scots stores to focus on convenience

Co-op is selling stores in Paisley and Prestwick. Picture: ContributedCo-op is selling stores in Paisley and Prestwick. Picture: Contributed
Co-op is selling stores in Paisley and Prestwick. Picture: Contributed
Retail group Co-operative is selling a portfolio of former Somerfield properties '“ including ten in Scotland '“ as it seeks to focus its efforts on the convenience market.

The firm said the properties, comprising 36 stores and a raft of “non-trading” properties, were being bought by The Food Retailer Group, an arm of retail turnaround specialist Hilco.

All of the sites were acquired by Co-op when it took over rival Somerfield in 2008, and while the sale price was not disclosed the group said it would recognise a profit from the deal with The Food Retailer Group.

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The 36 trading stores that are part of the sale include a branch at the Piazza shopping centre in Paisley and Main Street in Prestwick. They will all continue to trade as food stores and no redundancies are planned among staff.

The branches will be rebranded as Budgens as part of the deal, which is expected to be complete by July.

The deal also covers properties in Arbroath, Buckie, Dundee, Elgin, Glasgow, Peebles, Perth and Strathaven.

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Co-op Food chief executive Steve Murrells said: “An important consideration for us was that colleagues would have continued employment as a result of this sale, a principle we’ve applied to previous sales, including that of our pharmacy business to Bestway in 2014.

“This agreement ensures that 920 colleagues will continue in their jobs and have their terms and conditions maintained post-sale.”

A spokesman for The Food Retailer Group added: “The change in ownership will not impact daily business and stores will continue trading as usual. All employees will transfer with the business, and there are no planned redundancies.”

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