Co-operative Group has strengthened its position in the convenience store sector with the acquisition of Southwest chain Conveco.
It is understood the deal is worth£25 million, and is Co-op's third big acquisition in the past two years. In 2002, Co-op bought Alldays and then Balfour, bringing in 750 stores.
Conveco runs 38 stores under the Spar fascia, and 26 trading as Local Plus. The shops in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset measure on average between 2,000 sq ft and 3,000 sq ft (185 sq m and 280 sq m).
Co-operative Group chief operating officer for retail Malcolm Hepworth said: 'This acquisition strengthens our presence in the Southwest and adds to the momentum behind our convenience proposition. We will add significant value to this business to the benefit of our consumer members.'
Conveco chief executive Tony O'Neill, who will leave the business, said: 'This deal and the investment that Co-operative Group will make across the estate represents a very positive move forward for all our employees and customers.'
A Co-op spokesman said that stores will be eventually converted to Co-op's Welcome fascia, but Conveco would be run as a distinct business.
Balfour chief executive David Mockford will head Conveco.
Co-op will finish converting Alldays stores to its own fascia this year.