The Co-op plans to open 100 new food stores in 2018 creating around 1,600 jobs, the retailer confirmed on Tuesday (2 January).

In a statement, Co-op said over 20 of the new stores it plans to open would be in the Greater London area.

Another 18 would be opened in Scotland along with 10 in Wales, with other stores spread around the English regions.

The move is part of a new strategy to examine where UK consumers are expressing most enthusiasm for the food stores to be located at, according to Stuart Hookins, Director of Portfolio and Development at the Co-op.

"Our members are now telling us where they would like to see a new Co-op store opening to serve their community through our suggest-a-site website," Hookins explained.

The expansion involves an investment of £160m.

Additionally, the Co-op will also be increasing spending on revamping another 150 existing stores.