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The Co-op has revealed details about a franchise proposition, which already has stores operating and has a few more in the pipeline.

Ken Towle, chief executive of Nisa, told the IGD conference last week: “We have a great deal of confidence it will allow the brand to get to all places faster than the Co-op can get it there alone.”

Towle told delegates that the combined company is also to pilot a new commercial team.

“We think that by bringing together the knowledge and experience that exists in the retail business of Co-op and the wholesale business of Nisa, we can bring together complimentary skills that will allow us to do the right thing by customers and work better with our stakeholders and suppliers.

“We have been planning this for quite a while, what we have to move onto now is having conversations with people about how they fit in with this, and how their future is meant to be assured by this new way of working.

“We are going to be piloting it because it is a big change, but we are very committed to making this change because it is fundamental to doing a better job and organising ourselves so we are simpler to work with.”

Related: Costcutter’s secret Co-op franchise store trial grew sales by 70%

Towle also gave the conference an update on the introduction of Co-op branded products into Nisa stores. The products have been released in phases, with three phases completed so far, and partners are now able to order from a range of 750 products.

By the end of the year another 100 products will have been added, and Co-op has committed to have the full range available in the first quarter of 2019, Towle said.

He added: “Not only are we introducing the range, but we are also introducing the idea of category management and shopper missions, basically helping our partners understand what is driving our customers to behave the way that they do. So we are connecting the very responsive personal awareness our partners have of their customers with data, market insight and the ability to optimise their stores.”

He added that about three quarters of Nisa partner stores are already ordering and stocking these products.

“It’s so far, so good, but we have a big journey to go on this. There’s lots of education for customers and partners, but we are really pleased on the progress so far,” Towle added.

Source: Talking Retail

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