Retailer bucks trend with multi-million-pound Midlands expansion

A leading retailer has revealed multi-million-pound plans to expand its Midlands operation with the opening of several new stores.

At a time of continuing contraction within the retail sector, the plans announced by Central England Co-op are very much against the general trend.

The society plans to open more than 10 new stores and funeral homes, while revamping dozens more as part of an ambitious investment plan throughout 2018.

The move is expected to create hundreds of jobs within the Central England trading estate, which spans 16 counties.

New food stores and funeral homes are planned for Birmingham, Peterborough, Yorkshire, Derby, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, and Nottingham.

A further 10 stores and 20 funeral homes across a wide range of towns and cities will also be given a major makeover.

Martyn Cheatle, chief executive of Central England Co-op, said: “We are really proud of the success of our food business, especially with our continued good performance in what is a highly competitive and increasingly uncertain trading environment.

“We want to continue with that success and this is why we are committed to an ambitious growth and investment strategy during the next 12 months.”

The new and revamped sites will feature upgraded fixtures and fittings including the latest in energy efficient refrigeration technologies to minimise environmental impact and LED lighting.

The new investment follows on from expansion in 2017, during which the society opened eight new food stores and five new funeral homes, as well as relaunching more than 15 funeral sites and over 20 convenience stores.

This major development programme resulted in an investment of more than £15m, creating dozens of jobs.