The Co-operative Group has signed a contract with The Crown Estate to open a store in The Strand, London.

The deal will mean the food retailer will have a shop in every postal area in the UK.

The shop, at 456-459 The Strand, will open in February and forms part of the grocer’s ambition to open more than 300 food outlets over the next three years.

The expansion includes a renewed focus on city centre locations, including the capital. To help achieve its target it also plans to double the size of its food acquisition team next year.

Following the group’s acquisition of Somerfield in March 2009, The Co-op became the UK’s fifth largest grocer with nearly 3,000 stores. It also have 2,000 other outlets including pharmacies and banks.

Peter Marks, group chief executive, The Co-op, said: “The Somerfield integration programme is due to be successfully completed by the first quarter of next year, but we have no intention of resting on our laurels, and the store on The Strand - just down the road from Buckingham Palace – will give us unique coverage across the UK.”