The Co-op has announced plans to create up to 250 jobs as it opens 12 new food stores in Wales throughout 2017.
The community retailer’s continued investment in Wales will see more than £16m spent on food store openings and refits.
Alongside a dozen new stores being opened, there are also set to be major makeovers for around 20 existing stores.
The Co-op opened its first new Welsh store in Rossett, near Wrexham, last week with new stores also planned for Swansea, Cwmbach, Rhayader, Monmouth, Radyr, Pembroke, Llanelli and Machen.
Whereas stores in St David’s Park, Old Colwyn, Holyhead, Talgarth and Barmouth have all re-launched with a new look this year after receiving major makeovers.
Tina Mitchell, managing director for the Co-op, Wales, said: “Continued investment in our brand and our business is delivering benefits for colleagues, members and communities right across Wales.
“And, consumers are responding to our commitment to doubling the number of local suppliers. Quality, trust and provenance are key for customers and we are working closely with smaller producers.
“It is their traditions, passion, and innovation which makes their products loved locally, and as a community retailer we are committed to championing great Welsh food and drink.
“The Co-op is moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum, and it is our aim to establish our stores as a local hub and a centre for the community.
“We want shoppers to know that they can become a co-owner and member of their Co-op, and that members have an opportunity to make a difference locally.
“Simply by swiping their membership card when they shop with us they are raising much needed funding for organisations in their community who contribute to improving local life.”
Described as the fastest growing convenience retailer, the Co-op has out-performed its market over the last year with like-for-like sales up 3.5%, and locally sourcing products is a cornerstone of its food strategy.
In December it also awarded contracts to 11 smaller or, micro, breweries to supply around 80 of its Welsh stores including the Great Orme Brewery; Boss Brewing (Swansea): Tiny Rebel (Newport); Gower Brewery and, Glamorgan Brewing Company.
And from May, in a further boost for Welsh agriculture, the Co-op will sell only 100% British own-brand fresh beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon and turkey. It is already the only retailer to use British meat in all its chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches.
Simon Jones, managing director of Edwards of Conwy, added: “Since launching with Co-op we have been able to reach a wide range of new customers. Often located in agricultural communities, many Co-op stores are essential in providing all the range you would find in a larger supermarket as well as being convenient.
“Accessing these customers who perhaps weren’t aware of the Edwards range has helped us grow our sales and allows us continue to invest in expanding the number of local staff we employ as well as our business capability.
“Co-ops passion for providing its customers with high quality locally produced foods at a fair price fits perfectly with our own long established heritage for being a highly skilled producer of quality meat products.”
The Co-op also has plans to unveil two new funeral homes in Wales this year, with the first due to open in Cwmbran next month (May). Plans for a funeral home in Colwyn Bay are also underway.
Its Funeralcare business is also investing in its current estate as part of a wider development programme.
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