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the original factory shop closed

Co-op is to open concessions inside its stores from The Original Factory Shop, selling the variety discounter’s clothing, pet, electrical and homeware ranges.

More than 30 of the concessions, each about 2,300 sq ft in size and employing about 10 staff, are to open inside larger Co-op stores over the next 15 months.

The concessions will also stock The Original Factory Shop’s party ranges, and offer click & collect, a service launched by the discounter in the pandemic.

The move is part of Co-op’s work to create additional services in store, and also serves The Original Factory Shop’s expansion plans, according to the two retailers.

“Co-op is committed to operating at the heart of local life and creating value in our communities – we are working to develop new ways to provide added services and choice,” said Co-op director of innovation and format Mark Matthews.

“Conveniently, The Original Factory Shop complements our fantastic range of food, groceries and everyday essentials. It attracts new and different customers, and supports our work to create a compelling offer to serve our members and customers locally.”

The Original Factory Shop MD Phil Briggs said: “We’re really excited to be working with the Co-op. It marks the coming together of two great community retailers and is testament to the importance of convenience stores and the role that these shops play in local life.

“It means that many local communities will get to discover The Original Factory Shop’s great bargains in a whole new way.”

Stores set to gain the concessions include Co-ops in Hereford, Plympton, Stornoway, Whitby, Prudhoe, Shotts, Kippax, Cranleigh, Machynlleth and Lampeter.

The Original Factory Shop, which was closing stores in 2018 in a CVA, has enjoyed a turnaround in the pandemic. Earlier in 2021 the retailer announced plans to open 50 stores over the next three years, building on an estate of about 170, with 400 jobs to be created.

The business has worked to tap the benefit of its locations within local communities, with each store launching its own Facebook page. It has also introduced an online click & collect service in a relaunch of its website.

The Original Factory Shop sells leading brands in clothing, homewares, fmcg and beauty categories.

Latest accounts filed at Companies House put its revenue in the year to 28 March 2021 at £92.1m, down from £132.2m the year before, which the company said reflected the ongoing impact of lockdowns. EBITDA was £2.4m, down from £5.5m.

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