The Co-operative’s former Somerfield stores are performing poorly amid rising complaints in store and overcharging for products.

The Co-operative Group’s food division is suffering due to a 3.38% fall in like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to February 25 at ex-Somerfield stores, The Independent reports.

Sales at The Co-operative’s own stores rose 0.13% over the same period while total sales at the food business excluding fuel are £15.55m below target eight weeks into its financial year.

An internal memo said complaints at the 650-plus ex-Somerfield stores are rapidly increasing and customers had been overcharged due to misleading information.

Complaints at The Co-operative’s own food business also rose. It recorded 447 in the sixth week of its financial year, up from the 333 in its third week.

Food safety concerns, “rudeness of staff”, not asking for membership cards and long queues are among the issues raised by customers.

The Co-operative Group acquired the £1.6bn Somerfield chain almost three years ago and the internal memo suggests the transition has been far from straightforward. It claims The Co-op has failed to get the right ranges in store.

Last week it was revealed that The Co-operative is to cut up to 280 head office jobs. The jobs will largely be across the IT, finance and central operations departments.