Off-site approach enables fully equipped convenience store to be completed quickly...

...with minimal environmental impact

United Co-operatives is the UK’s largest regional co-operative society, operating in the food, travel, pharmacy, motor and funeral sectors. The society has 525 food stores throughout the north of England, North Midlands and North Wales. The company decided to use off-site construction in the Food Group to open new convenience stores more quickly and with reduced environmental impact.

The first United Co-operatives store to be built off site was located in Widnes, Cheshire. Eight steel-framed Portakabin Design and Build solution modules were manufactured by the Portakabin Group and installed in less than a day to form a 376m2 convenience store.

The modules arrived on site with plumbing, chillers, freezer, work tops, ceramic tiled floor, toilets, partitions, glazing, doors and United Co-operatives’ branding all pre-installed. Completing this fitting out off-site reduced the final fitting out required on site to just two weeks.

“Our stores are at the heart of local communities and we are constantly assessing how we impact on those communities. We have found that manufacturing stores in a factory can cut disruption locally and reduce the effect on the environment, as well as allow our customers to start shopping with us more quickly.”

Derek Fogg, General Manager, Property Group, United Co-operatives

The new store was designed to match United Co-operatives’ corporate style, with a cream external finish, canopy fascia detail, and blue doors and windows.

Derek Fogg, General Manager, Property Group at United Co-operatives, says: “The Widnes project went extremely well and we exceeded our sales targets in the first week of trading. We are now working with the Portakabin Group to see how we can move other elements of the build process into the factory for future projects. The use of this approach meant we were able to open the Widnes store and begin serving customers just 18 weeks after purchase of the site, which is a major achievement.”

Following the success of the first project, United Co-operatives has plans to build up to five further stores using the Portakabin Design and Build solution.

Building Location


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