Midcounties Co-op has increased its retail estate to 50 branches with the acquisition of eight shops from south west agency chain Travel Angels.

The acquisition of the sites in Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset mark Midcounties expansion into the south-west from its core stronghold in the midlands.

Alistair Rowland, group general manager travel services for Midcounties, said: “This is an exciting more for us as it takes us into Bristol airport territory.

“Travel Angels is one the few remaining very good independent agents in a less competitive area. We were with the staff last night and they are all very excited.”

The branches will continue to trade under the Travel Angels name, and all 35 employees will be retained.

Peter Grayson, managing director of Travel Angels, said: “All privately-owned businesses have to address succession issues. In Midcounties we have found the right successor to ensure its continuity and long term future and also to maintain our ethos.”

Grayson will remain with Travel Angels as a consultant to oversee the integration of the business. The deal is expected to complete in early September.