Waitrose has agreed a deal with The Co-operative to take seven of its shops in the home counties and South West to aid the upmarket grocer’s expansion in the south.

Waitrose will take on the shops, and their 531 staff, across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset and Devon, Retail Week can reveal.

The shops will be converted and open between February and May next year.

Waitrose managing director Mark Price said last month the retailer will invest £300m and open 20 new stores to notch up £15bn-a-year in sales over the next decade.

It is not the first time Waitrose has taken on Co-op stores. In 2009, Waitrose bought 13 Co-op stores the latter had to divest following its acquisition of Somerfield.

Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen said: “Waitrose has reached an agreement with The Co-operative Group to acquire seven of its shops.

“All 531 The Co-operative staff employed at these sites will be offered the opportunity to become Waitrose Partners. We also expect to create up to 300 additional jobs at these branches.”
The shops locations are:
·        Edenbridge, Kent, 12,000 sq ft
·        Hove, East Sussex, 29,000 sq ft
·        Keynsham, Somerset, 25,000 sq ft
·        Leek, Staffordshire, 16,000 sq ft
·        Locks Heath, Hampshire, 29,000 sq ft
·        Sherborne, Dorset, 12,000 sq ft
·        Teignmouth, Devon, 19,000 sq ft.