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Co-op has joined forces with the students’ union at The University of Kent to transform its stores – known as the SU Shop & SU Shop Park Wood.

The agreement with Kent Union is the Co-op’s first franchise store on campus in the South of England and its second franchise on a university campus UK-wide.

The new stores, which are expected to open by September, will offer Co-op’s full range of fresh, healthy foods, extended vegan and free-from products, Fairtrade produce, food-to-go, in-store bakery, and essentials.

Martin Rogers, Co-op’s head of new channels, said: “This is an important development for Co-op. Franchise stores provide an exciting opportunity to grow our brand and generate mutual value with our partners. At the heart of the Co-op it is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference.

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“We have a long-standing partnership with NUS and so this relationship with Kent Union is a natural progression. An exciting opportunity to grow our brand together, and make more of our products available in the community. The new Canterbury campus store will have the range, choice, ease and convenience tailored to serve campus needs – we look forward to working closely with Kent Union and serving the needs of the campus community.”

The Co-op gives TOTUM cardholders 10% discount off groceries, and brings funding boosts for local causes through its membership scheme – members receive a 5% reward on purchases of own-brand products, with the Co-op donating a further 1% to local causes.

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Aaron Thompson, union president and chair of the board of trustees, said: “One of the biggest pieces of feedback we get every year from students is that the prices in the shop are too high and i’m so happy we can finally address this issue. I believe that this partnership will offer Kent students better value for money, bigger product range and even bigger discounts. The board of trustees were happy to approve the change as the Co-op’s values align with Kent Union’s on being a sustainable organisation, passionate about the environment, and improving our links with the community on and off campus.”

Andrew Duffield, head of retail – who has managed the SU Shop for the last two years, added: “This is a really exciting partnership, and I am privileged to be involved in the project. Our new Co-op store will see an even larger product range offered in store which will complement the great discount opportunities for students. The store will be completely transformed and given a well needed face-lift, really improving the shopping experience for our customers. As part of the refurbishment we will be introducing at least 15 self-scan tills reducing the queuing times. This partnership also allows us to benefit from greater operational efficiencies, which will support stronger product availability, and a larger focus on customer service.”

By Liz Wells

Source: Talking Retail

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