The Co-op is targeting 100 new shops across the UK in 2019 as part of a £200m investment into its convenience store portfolio.

The new stores, one third of which will open in London and the Southeast, will create up to 1,500 jobs.

Alongside the new store openings, the Co-op also plans to refurbish 200 of its existing stores.

The mutual is poised to open new shops in Soho, Ilford, Chiswick and Queen’s Park, with a new food-to-go store planned at Baker Street station.

Forty “new or improved” stores will be launched throughout Scotland, including sites in Aberdeen, Falkirk and Glasgow, while 10 new stores will open across Wales.

News of the Co-op’s expansion comes a month after it unveiled plans to open a 661,000 sq ft distribution depot in Bedfordshire.

The £45m site will create a further 1,200 jobs.

The Co-op’s director of portfolio and development, Stuart Hookins, said: “Shifts in consumer shopping trends have seen ease, speed and convenience continuing to rise in importance for time-pressed shoppers.

“The right location and range tailored to fulfil the shopping needs of a community is a cornerstone of our approach, and there has been an evolution in how we choose new locations and innovate our offer.

This year will be the fourth consecutive year of opening around 100 new stores, and investing in a core convenience estate which has seen over four years of consecutive like-for-like sales growth.”