Welcome, the franchise offered by Southern Co-op, has opened 15 stores this year, taking the number of stores under the brand to 48.
The regional independent co-operative hopes to hit the 50 store milestone in the next few months.
“At the beginning of the year, the outlook wasn’t in our favour but I am really proud of what my team and our franchise partners have achieved especially as most of the stores openings had to be pushed back due to the pandemic,” Mike Fitton, Southern Co-op’s franchise business manager, said.
The retailer, in fact, has beaten the previous year’s increase when it added 12 stores. The new stores include both new partnerships and existing franchisee expansions.
“The need for convenience is matched by consumers becoming more health conscious, wanting to support local businesses and being more aware of a company’s sustainability policies,” Fitton added.
“Our Welcome franchisees offer their customers a full range of options which satisfy these needs as they get the best of both – the full range of Co-op own label products alongside ultra local products.”
Welcome franchise stores include a mix of high street and village convenience stores as well as petrol forecourts, spread across the south from Bristol to Kent and into central London.
“With our support, our franchise stores have gone from strength to strength and we’re currently looking at a range of ways to continue offering shoppers great customer service whilst helping our franchisees to better manage demand,” Fitton concluded.