Retail news round-up: Co-op expands its c-store business; John Lewis breaks 'Never knowingly undersold' promise, says Money Saving Expert; and Argos warehouse workers strike.

Co-op plans convenience grocery business expansion

The Co-op has signed an agreement with MRH, an independent service-station operator, to open seven convenience stores at roadside service stations, The Times reports.

The grocery retailer will open its first store this month in Eastcote, Northwest London, followed by four more in the London area and two in Cambridgeshire.

Co-op food chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “This will enable us to test the franchise model and potentially pave the way for further expansion to move the Co-op brand and our own-brand food into new communities.”

John Lewis breaks ‘never knowingly undersold’ promise

John Lewis has broken its pledge of “never knowingly undersold” after an investigation revealed that the store was selling products at higher prices, The Financial Times reports.

According to an investigation by the consumer website Money Saving Expert (MSE), there were five incidences where John Lewis did not reduce the shelf prices of items in spite of being alerted to lower prices elsewhere.

The department store’s slogan guarantees that it will match lower prices on identical products offered by national rivals.

But the investigation found that the retailer had broken its pledge.

John Lewis in a statement said: “We are disappointed that MSE focused on a small number of specific examples rather than the millions of prices that we lower each year”.

Argos workers on a two-week strike

Argos’ 1,400 warehouse staff have launched a two-week strike in a row over their job security and terms and conditions, The Belfast Telegraph reports.

The company said that deliveries will not be affected by the strike and would take further legal action over the dispute.

Argos said in a statement: "We can reassure customers that we have strong contingencies in place and their orders and deliveries will not be affected."

"We strongly believe this dispute to be wholly unnecessary as the union has made a series of demands in the full knowledge that they cannot be met, for legal reasons.

"We are disappointed with the court's ruling against our injunction based on a technicality but will be submitting a further application."