UK-based food retailer Co-op is planning to open 100 new stores and create 1,600 jobs in the country this year.
The company will use a £160m investment to open new stores and perform major overhauls at its existing 150 outlets.
The company intends to open more than 20 new stores in London and nearly 18 stores across various Scottish cities, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Forres (Highlands) and Kilmacolm (Renfewshire).
Co-op Food chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “The Co-op is positively responding to the changes occurring within this dynamic sector. Our Food business is going from strength to strength in what is clearly a challenging retail market.
“We have the ambition for our stores to be at the heart of local life, bringing communities together and offering our members and customers great quality products when and where they need them.”
The food retailer revealed that Rhayader (Powys) and Bryncoch (Neath) suburbs will be the first of ten new stores which are set to open in Wales.
It plans to open its new stores in Blackpool, Bristol, Chesterfield, Crewe, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Southampton and York at a later stage.
Co-op portfolio and development director Stuart Hookins said: “The Co-op’s extensive acquisitions and refit programme is a fundamental part of our food strategy.
“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.”