A SUPERMARKET chain has launched a new branch after investing more than half a million pounds in the site.

The new Co-op in Kingsway, Hove, near the King Alfred Leisure Centre, opened its doors for the first time on Friday.

The store will run on 100 per cent renewable electricity, feature a free, internal cash machine and also offer customers access to fresh food from its bakery.

Other products on offer will include items from the Co-op’s free-from and Fair Trade ranges as well as its award-winning wines, ready meals and pizzas, vegan products, food-to-go and everyday essentials.

The store’s focus will be on providing “fresh, healthy produce”.

The store is also offering a click and collect service, allowing people to choose and buy their shopping online before picking it up from the store.

The Co-op invested £600,000 in the site, which has created 17 jobs.

Tony Hatfield, the supermarket chain’s area manager, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to make such a significant investment in Hove.

“The store has a great look and we have worked to develop the range, choice, products and services locally that will create a really compelling offer to serve the community, conveniently.

“We are committed to connecting communities and making a difference locally and to operating at the heart of local life.

“That is why we also want customers to know that they can become a member of their Co-op and that they can make a difference to local causes every time they swipe their membership card when buying own branded products.”

Members are given a 2p reward for every pound they spend in the store with a further 2p from every pound spent by members shared among community causes.

There are currently 4.6 million active Co-op members.

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, owned by its millions of members.

It now has more than 2,500 local, convenience and medium-sized stores across the nation.

The company also owns and operates a funeral services provider, a general insurer and a developing legal services business.

Across all its businesses, it employs almost 70,000 people.

A Co-op spokesman said: “Membership lies at the heart of our business.

“We are owned by our members and manage our business for their benefit in accordance with Co-op values and principles.

“Along with all co-operative societies, the Co-operative Group is democratically controlled by its members.

“However we differ from most other UK consumer co-operatives in that we have both independent society members and individual members.

“Anyone can become a member of the group by subscribing for a £1 share.

“The Co-operative Group is jointly owned by millions of individual members and Independent Co-operative societies.

“We listen to member opinions and integrate these into our business activities and our social and campaigning agenda.”

Data published by Retail Economics found the Co-op had the sixth highest market share of any food and grocery retailer in the UK during the financial years between 2018 and 2019.

Tesco finished top of the list, followed by Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison’s and Aldi, all of which have stores in Brighton and Hove.