The Co-op is stepping up its drive to streamline its store estate after the grocer earmarked hundreds of shops it plans to offload.
According to Retail Week, the mutual has identified 300 of its larger non-convenience stores that it wants to sell and has hired investment bank Rothschild to contact prospective buyers, according to reports.
Executives are exploring a sale of the stores, which would appeal to smaller food retailers or discount chains including Poundland or B&M, but there is no certainty that they will be sold, according to Sky News.
As previously reported, the Co-op was already seeking to sell 100 underperforming stores that were acquired when the group purchased Somerfield almost a decade ago.
The grocer is undergoing a turnaround under group boss Richard Pennycook and food boss Steve Murrells.
The Co-op’s food business posted a 1.6% growth in like-for-like sales when the group unveiled full-year results last week.
The Co-op is increasingly focusing on its core convenience stores, which delivered a 3.8% uplift in like-for-likes during the 52 weeks to January 2. The retailer still plans to open 100 new stores and refit 150 others this year.
A spokesman for the Co-op declined to comment.