The Co-operative Group is to open more than 50 convenience stores in former pubs after signing a deal with retail property group NewRiver.

The grocer is expected to open the majority of the 54 new shops within the next two years, creating almost 200,000 sq ft of new retail space. Each unit will offer car parking and will range from 3,000 sq ft to 4,500 sq ft.

The new stores will be a mix of new-build projects constructed on surplus land next to existing public houses, pubs conversions, and properties redeveloped into standalone convenience retail stores.

NewRiver’s deal to lease the properties to the Co-operative Group comes after the property firm acquired 202 pubs from Marston’s in November last year, in a deal valued at £90m.

NewRiver retail property director Allan Lockhart said: “The agreement significantly develops the Co-operative Group’s UK footprint and we look forward to expanding our strong relationship with them in the future.”

The Co-operative Group operates over 2,800 grocery stores.