Britain’s Co-op targets more stores and members in 2024

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Co-op will open more stores and step up the recruitment of new members in 2024 as it seeks to reverse a decline in grocery market share.

The 180-year old group, which is owned by its over 5 million members, is Britain’s seventh largest supermarket group operating almost 2,400 food stores.

It ended 2023 with a grocery market share of 5.4%, according to researcher Kantar, down 20 basis points on the year.

The fall reflected intense competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl, as well as market leader Tesco and No. 2 Sainsbury’s.

The Co-op said on Wednesday it plans to acquire new Co-op stores, more than double the number of its franchise stores, from 38 currently, and open 400 new stores under the Nisa brand.

The group, which also has funerals, insurance and legal services businesses, is targeting a membership of 8 million by 2030.

“Co-op membership is not a loyalty scheme but rather a different way of doing business. We exist and are run for the benefit of our millions of members,” Chief Executive Shirine Khoury-Haq said.

In September, the group forecast a modest pre-tax loss for its 2023/24 year.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar)