We’ve opened 42 new shops so far this year, investing £30 million and creating 630 new jobs for local people.
That means we’re nearly half way to opening 100 stores in 2018, the third year in a row we’ve done so. We’re investing in new convenience shops because people today shop little and often, and that’s not going to change any time soon. We responded quickly to this shift in consumer behaviour and have experienced 16 periods of like-for-like growth, proof that our strategy is working.
And it’s not just our food business that’s growing, we’ve opened 11 new funeral homes this year.
Getting closer to customers
The Co-op wants to get closer to where our customers are, what they need and what they care about. For us in property, this means choosing the right locations for our new stores and making sure that they stock the right products for their communities. We’ve done a lot of work on this over the last few years and we’re seeing great results – we reported 3.4% like-for-like sales growth last year, beating the market by 1.1%.
Leading the way in London
A great example of how we’re bringing this to life is through some of our new stores in London. We’ve done a lot of customer research into what shoppers in London want and have come up with a new format that we’ll be putting in a number of our central London stores, including Baker Street Station, before the end of the year.
It’ll have an in-store barista, sell artisan doughnuts and there’ll be plenty of vegan and free-from options. There’ll also be a big focus on our ethical credentials and our partnership with One Water, the water poverty charity.
Baker Street Station, Tower Hill and Fenchurch Street are just three of the stores we’re opening in London this year. We’ve opened 10 so far, with 20 more still to go. Locations we’ve opened in include Colindale Station, Balham High Street and Paddington Basin.