Top 50 Indie MRH has signed an agreement with the Co-op to pilot a new franchise convenience store at seven MRH sites across the UK.

The first of the 1,000-1,500sq ft stores will open next week in Eastcote in north-west London, with the pilot running throughout the year.

The pilot is part of MRH’s wider strategy to invest in its service stations and to develop partnerships which increase the choice for customers visiting its sites. Currently, MRH has a range of nationwide partnerships in retail and food-to-go with Spar, Costa Coffee, Subway and Greggs.

MRH chief executive Karen Dickens said: “This pilot is an exciting development for MRH, and part of a wider move to increase the retail offering for customers at our sites. 

“We look forward to working with the Co-op team as we pilot this model with them, and explore further ways we can ensure our customers time and again choose to visit MRH for their fuel and convenience needs.” 

Jo Whitfield, retail chief executive, Co-op, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the Co-op to expand its presence further in the convenience sector, which is one of the fastest-growing areas in UK grocery. 

“This will enable us to test the franchise model and potentially pave the way for further expansion to move the Co-op brand and our own-brand food into new communities.”

MRH is number one in Forecourt Trader’s Top 50 Indies with a total of 480 sites across the UK.