13 February 2019

Southern Co-op's franchise expands in 2019

The number of Southern Co-op's franchises is expanding with eight new stores already planned in 2019. Two new franchisees are partnering with the regional, independent co-operative this year and an existing franchisee is expanding their offering

Trading under the Welcome franchise, the new stores take the total number to 33 with openings set throughout the first half of 2019.

One of the new partners is the petrol retailing division of George Hammond PLC bringing with them six service stations in Kent.

George Hammond PLC entered into petrol retailing in 1972 and has established itself as one of the leading retailers in the South East of England.

John Ryeland, of George Hammond PLC, said: "Over the last decade, we have seen many changes in the petrol retailing business with most of our sites being redeveloped into larger convenience store formats. The latest redevelopment is now well underway at our Three Elm Service Station in Tonbridge with the reopening scheduled for February.

"Transferring to the Welcome franchise gives us support from the Southern Co-op team and access to all products and promotions available in mainstream Co-op stores.

"The shift in UK consumer habits from the weekly big shop to more regular small top up convenience store visits has been recognised by all the major hypermarkets. This move will allow us to sit more comfortably in this sector with focus on range, ethical values and all at a reasonable price."

George Hammond PLC's six service stations which are moving to the Welcome brand are Dover South Services, Three Elm Service Station, Queenborough Service Station, Thanet Way Services, Deal Service Station and Priory Service Station.

The other two confirmed Welcome franchise stores are at Swiss Cottage, in London, and Southwater Service Station, in West Sussex.

This takes the total number of Welcome franchisees to 17 across the south of England, both convenience stores and forecourts.

To find out more about Southern Co-op's franchise opportunities, visit

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The Southern Co-operative is a successful independent regional business owned by its members.