Five more Co-op stores in Northern Ireland formally transfer into McColl's ownership
FIVE more Co-operative Group stores in the north will formally transfer this week into ownership of convenience store operator McColl's.
Last year Co-op said it was offloading 298 of its smaller outlets across the UK to its rival in a bid to overhaul its retail footprint.
It said it was selling the stores - which are 1,700 sq ft on average - because they were too small to stock all of its own-brand products, which have been key to driving up sales.
And it is using the £117 million it will be paid as part of the McColl's deal to buy 200 new bigger shops.
The Northern Ireland Co-op stores moving across to McColl's this week are those at Dunclug Shopping Centre in Ballymena, Church Street, Tandragee; The Throne Centre, Newtownabbey; Main Street in Bangor; and Abbots Cross at Doagh Road in Newtownabbey.
The deal to sell the Co-op Group stores to McColl's was first announced last July, and in December was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
At the time McColl's chief executive Jonathan Miller described the deal as "transformational" and said it would substantially accelerate McColl's growth strategy and expands its neighbourhood presence for the benefit of customers.
“We have a long history and proven track record of successfully integrating convenience stores into our estate, and we expect these newly acquired stores to make a significant contribution to our future strategic plans.”
McColl's said it expects all the conversions to be completed by the end of August. The stores will be supplied by Nisa, the business-owned co-operative.
Once completed, convenience stores will comprise more than three quarters of McColl's total estate.