Co-op buys David Sands convenience store chain

 

A 200-year-old family-owned store chain has been snapped up by the Co-op as part of the latest expansion at the UK's fifth biggest grocer.

David Sands, which employs 700 people at 28 convenience store outlets in Fife, Kinross and Perthshire, was hailed as a major acquisition by the Co-op.

The takeover for an undisclosed sum came as the Co-op, with 2,800 stores in the UK, announced like-for-like food sales rose 3.1% in the four weeks to the end of December, including a 16.1% surge in the week before Christmas.

The acquisition of David Sands will end two centuries of tradition as an independent trader. The business was founded in the early nineteenth century by Joseph Hardie, a prominent local businessman and founder of the Kinross Free Church, and has remained in his family ever since.

In the 1960s the Kinross store was converted to self-service and a car park was added, which in those days was seen as a major innovation, and the company bought a second store in Glenfarg, which was eventually sold.

But it was not until the last two decades that the chain's expansion began in earnest when it acquired 26 stores, as well as a warehouse and head office in Kinross.

The company prides itself on its strong relationships with local suppliers and recently started making its own ready meals above one of its stores.

The acquisition is part of the Co-op's ambitious plans to expand its food store network by 300 sites over the next three years, taking on some 7,000 extra staff.

The group, which grew significantly after it bought the Somerfield supermarket chain, currently has 370 food stores in Scotland, making it the fourth largest retailer in the country.

The Co-op's Christmas performance benefited from a 25% increase in sales of its Elmwood British turkeys, while white wine rose 21% boosted by exclusive ranges, with mince pie sales up 12%.

Despite the recent improvement at its food stores, like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to the end of December were still down 0.2%.

But the group said this represents an improving trend on the first half when it reported the toughest trading conditions for 40 years.

Its online electricals business enjoyed its best ever Christmas, with sales up 18.4% in the four weeks with flat screen TVs, laptops and iPods selling well.

The group, which is also the UK's largest mutual retailer, said all its trading arms, including its funerals and pharmacy businesses, saw their performance improve in the month, with overall group sales up 3.1%. Car sales benefited from strong demand for Land Rovers.

Chief executive Peter Marks said: "These results represent an encouragingly good performance in the very competitive markets in which we operate and in continuing difficult economic times.

"Against the backdrop of financial pressures on household budgets, our focus on quality and value and the fact that our food stores are located in communities struck a chord with customers."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory