//Central England Co-ops move

Central England Co-ops move

Deal affects 16 branches with all staff kept on

Co-operative Travel, the retail division of Midcounties Co-operative, intends to enter into an agreement with Central England Co-operative

The Central England stores will boost the Midcounties portfolio to 70 travel shops. All 78 staff will be part of the deal.

The new stores will be open by mid-August under the new banner.

Rad Sofronijevic, chief operating officer of Midcounties Co-operative’s travel division, said: “These have been extraordinary times for the whole travel sector, but with lockdown measures easing we’re well placed to grow from strength to strength. Travel is core to Midcounties’ long-term strategy and when we learned that Central England Co-operative was looking to emphasise its focus on other divisions and move away from Travel, we wanted to take the opportunity to bring these branches under the Midcounties retail umbrella and further strengthen our offering. With our scale and expertise, we look forward to helping grow and nurture the former Central England Co-operative branches to ensure their success in the future.”

A spokesperson for Central England Co-operative said: “Central England and Midcounties have a longstanding and positive relationship, with Central England recently joining Midcounties’ travel buying consortium following the demise of Thomas Cook. The coming together of the two businesses will enable the continuation of a Co-operative travel offer for our members and customers and the continued employment for a number of colleagues”.

The majority of Midcounties’ existing Co-operative Travel branches have now re-opened, following lockdown, with the remaining opening on 13 July. 

Natalie Turner, head of branches for Co-operative Travel, said: “I am delighted that we will soon welcome these additional branches to our portfolio. The branches are well located and allow Midcounties’ Co-operative Travel to expand our presence across several new counties in England.

“We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues into the fold, helping them to navigate the new normal in travel and grow and succeed under Midcounties’ retail Co-operative Travel umbrella.”

The 16 branches intended to transfer to Midcounties Co-operative are Allenton (Derbyshire), Atherstone (Warwickshire), Beccles & Lowestoft (Suffolk), Castle Donington, Glenfield, Ibstock & Whetstone (Leicestershire), Diss, Kings Lynn & Thetford (Norfolk), Erdington (West Midlands), Market Deeping (Lincolnshire), Oakham (Rutland), March & Peterborough (Cambridgeshire).

For more information on Co-operative Travel, go to www.cooptravel.co.uk.

To read our interview with Alistair Rowland, head of specialist business at Midcounties Co-op, click here.

Sam Ballard is a director and co-founder of Waterfront Publishing, creator of ABTA Magazine, Cruise Adviser, Solus and more.