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The first Co-op store on an EG On The Move site opens this Thursday (July 11) at Doncaster

The Co-op has signed a franchise agreement with Zuber Issa’s EG On The Move chain to put the convenience brand into an initial seven sites, as part of ambitious plans by the grocery operator to have recruited around 165 independent forecourts by 2030.

The first Co-op store on an EG On The Move site opens this Thursday (July 11) at Ogden Road in Doncaster, with the others following later this summer at Billingshurst in Sussex, Nitshill in Glasgow, Portlethen in Aberdeenshire, Tranent in East Lothian, Ipswich and Tingewick in Buckinghamshire.

Other sites may follow, says Zuber, who last month instructed commercial real estate business Colliers to find him another 120 forecourt, convenience retail and foodservice locations to grow his estate of more than 30 forecourts which he is acquiring from the EG Group in a deal expected to complete in the second half of 2024.

Before the deal with Zuber, the Co-op had 11 forecourt shops operated under the franchise agreement with Top 50 independent SGN.

The Co-op says it has aspirations to scale its franchise business to over 500 stores by 2030, with a third forecourt locations. It will focus on where it can ”best utilise its leading convenience expertise” with quality franchise partners, including petrol forecourts, universities, healthcare locations, and independent convenience retailers.

The supermarket group says the move is one leg of a wider strategy to expand its core businesses of food retail, business to business, and life services and take its owner-membership to eight million by 2030.

Jerome Saint-Marc, managing director B2B and growth, said he is ”excited” to be working with EG On The Move and to bring the Co-op franchise offer to more locations.

“This is part of our broader expansion in the petrol forecourt market. It follows our strategy to pivot our growth in this market through franchisegrowing our presence and enabling us to best utilise our expertise and offer in convenience,” he said.

“As part of the Co-op’s overall growth plans, growing our franchise stores is a key priority for us and we have ambitious and exciting plans to significantly increase our franchise footprint and become the partner of choice across a range of sectors.

“We’ve got an excellent market proposition. And whilst it’s highly competitive, we believe there’s huge potential to unlock growth with our trusted brand, and unique offer and expertise.”

Zuber Issa, chief executive of EG On The Move, said: “EG On The Move is an acknowledged petrol forecourt and convenience retail destination operator, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Co-op to roll out their new convenience store formats.”

He added that, following the seven-store trial, the business was “looking forward to working with the Co-op” to expand the programme to other locations across the network.

“Co-op is a well-established convenience operator, respected in the market and a recognised consumer brand, and this partnership not only promises to enhance our convenience store offer but it will also ensure our customers have access to exceptional fuel retail services including EV charging, a wide choice of essential and premium grocery and merchandise along with an enjoyable foodservice experience,” he said.

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EG On The Move’s Doncaster site will be the first of seven with Zuber Issa to take the Co-op brand

The Co-op operates almost 2,400 food stores and provides products to over 6,000 other stores including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail.