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Co-op outlines R448A and natural gas plans for store expansion

Retailer says it will consider natural refrigerant for it stores where possible as it mulls continued estate expansion; R448A viewed as current gas of choice

Retailer group Co-op has said it will look at the use of natural refrigerant solutions where possible in its retail estate as it commits to build 100 new stores across the UK this year. However, the company say it has more recently committed to adopting the HFO R448A within its operations as the preferred option for refrigerant needs.

The Co-op said it is committed to investing £160m into the proposed stores, while also supporting an overhaul of existing 150 existing outlets. Under this strategy, the retailer said it expected more than 20 new stores that will be opened in London and 18 new sites opened in Scotland that will be partly influenced by an online pick-a-site function for proposed future locations to build on.

A spokesperson for the company said that it was seeking “optimal solutions” for its refrigeration requirements in order to meet its carbon targets that were published to its membership under the name of the 2020 reduction programme.

The spokesperson said, “Where it is practicable to use natural refrigerant solutions such as CO2 (R744) this will be accommodated within the schemes. But otherwise the lowest available GWP refrigerants will be selected and most recently the Co-op issued an instruction to adopt R448A as the preferred refrigerant for conventional installations.”

Stuart Hookins, director of portfolio and development for the Co-op, said the group’s expansion and refit programme was a vital part of its ongoing strategy for food retail.

“Moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum, our expansion plans for 2018 will mean that the Co-op is on track to have opened at least 100 new stores in each of three consecutive years.”

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