Co-op to open franchise store on Newcastle University campus

August 16, 2019

Newcastle University Student Union has joined forces with the Co-op in a move which will see the retailer’s first franchise store open in the North East later this year.

The agreement will see the existing students’ union store extended and transformed with a fresh new-look in time for Fresher’s this September.

The new-look store will be managed and run by Newcastle University Students’ Union, providing employment opportunities for students.

The new 2,500sq ft store will offer Co-op’s full range of fresh, healthy foods, extended vegan and free-from offerings and a wide range of Fairtrade products.

Compostable carriers are available for customers who forget their bag-for-life. The not-for-profit bags – priced at 5p – offer an environmentally friendly alternative to the single-use plastic bags they replace. The store also includes a free refill tap for water.

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A funding boost for local causes is also on the cards through the Co-op’s Membership scheme. Members receive a 5% reward when buying own-brand products, with the Co-op donating a further 1% to causes in the area.

Graham Hattam, Newcastle University Students’ Union director of commercial, said: “We are excited to announce the introduction of a Co-op store into our Students’ Union and bring the first franchise store in the North East to our very own campus. This initiative supports our focus on providing healthy, affordable, fresh food and drink for students on campus, and complements our overarching objectives around enhancing the student experience. NUSU has been awarded ‘Students’ Union of the Year’ for the last two years consecutively, and a huge part of this success has been driven through delivering these types of initiatives which directly address the wants and needs of our students“.

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Martin Rogers, Co-op’s head of new channels, said: “This is an important development for Co-op. Our Franchise stores provide an exciting opportunity to grow our brand and create value for our partners and communities. At the heart of the Co-op it is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference. In line with other work we are doing with Students’ Unions across the country Newcastle Union is a natural progression, with the new store having the choice, ease and convenience tailored to serve campus needs. We look forward to working closely with Newcastle Students Union and serving the campus community.”

The latest Co-op franchise store to open was on Kent University campus last month, which followed the opening of a franchise store on Leeds University Campus earlier this year (February).

By Fiona Briggs

Source: Retail Times

Co-op sandwiches go on sale in Superdrug stores

May 31, 2019

The Co-op is supplying Superdrug stores with food-to-go products including sandwiches, salads and fruit under a new trial deal.

More than 40 Co-op own-label products are being supplied to Superdrug sites in East Midlands, Bristol and Edinburgh airports, and in Brighton, Sheffield, and London’s Victoria and Fenchurch Street railway stations.

The range includes Co-op’s best-selling chicken & bacon sandwich, salmon & prawn sushi, vegan onion bhaji wrap, an all-day breakfast sandwich and falafel tabbouleh salad. Shoppers will be able to add a Superdrug snack and drink to the Co-op ‘main’ food item in a meal deal.

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Co-op has been seeking new channels for its own-label products, including the agreement to supply 2,200 Costcutter supermarket group stores, a move into franchise stores and acquisition of Nisa last year.

“We are continually exploring new ways to bring our award-winning products closer to shoppers and reach new customers,” said Co-op Food trading director Matt Hood.

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“Becoming food-to-go partner for Superdrug is an exciting development as Co-op continues to grow its brand, further increasing the accessibility of own-brand products. These transport hubs provide an exciting and dynamic location to meet the shopping needs of busy consumers and offer our value and values conveniently.”

Many food-to-go operators are ramping up their presence in travel locations in reaction to changing consumer shopping habits, with Greggs last year opening its first site at a London Underground station.

The Co-op was named sandwich and food-to-go convenience retailer award for the fifth year running at the British Sandwich Association Sammies Awards last month.

By Vince Bamford

Source: Bakery Info

The Co-op builds on strong summer with customer insight

May 16, 2019

Co-op Franchise UK – convenience retailer The Co-op is working on new customer insight to build on the success of last year’s summer, which saw sales soar on the back of the scorching weather.

Last summer was “phenomenal” according to BWS category trading manager Simon Cairns, with the combination of Fifa World Cup and the great weather translated into very strong summer trading that had continued into the autumn and traditionally quieter pre-Christmas period.. Speaking to The Drinks Business in the autumn, he said the work done on clustering the range in stores had paid dividends and the strong summer had built “real momentum”

“The summer highlighted yet again how important having chilled space is in a convenience store has been for us, and having an offer that is ready-for the consumer.” he said. “More and more customers are having the confidence that you dont’ need to go to a large multiple to get an interesting range of wine, you can go onto your local high street and find an interesting and very credible, well-priced bottle of wine.”

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As a result people had the chance to “reappraise” The Co-op, according to Senior wine buyer Gyles Walker, who told db at last week’s tasting the stores has been through a transformation in recent years and were now ‘looking fantastic’

Walker old db at the recent press tasting the challenge now was to understand the customer and engage with them better.

“Have we retained them [this year], will they come back again? Yes, we’re well into spring now, and the key point to convenient is availability and daily logistic drops which enable it to react quickly to the weather.”

As Walker points out, “We can’t carry much stock, so it has to arrive [daily].”

“We’re now looking at numbers and we are retaining those customers. And it’s an opportunity to engage with them in other ways, for example food and wine pairings.”

The BWS team is working with the food team to pair wines to the latest offer, providing tastings to pair with the latest launches or by occasion.

“We’re working with marketing to use channels in store, including shelf edges to say what it goes well with, and The Co-op magazine is a great opportunity to talk about it, and also social media.  “We’re using those channels to ‘nudge’ consumers.”

The retailer is also conducting research into the occasions and missions that customers are shopping for – essentially what they are looking for at any given moment when they come in store that determine their buying habits and decision-making processes (also known as a ‘decision-tree’).

“And how can we understand that customer decision tree to make the customer purchase choice easier?” Walker says.

“The biggest challenge to us as an industry is how much people are engaged with the product. Some are happy with what they know and what’s presented to them, but we’re concentrating on two types of customers – the ‘quick and easy’, who know what they want, they want chilled, a good price, in and out, and the ‘foodie’ who is more engaged.”

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“They will look at the entire range and have an idea of the occasion, but are open to suggestions or what’s on offer, what they might want to try. They are likely to explore more into the product. So those are two decision-trees – it’s about understanding that one size doesn’t fit all, we have to bring it together and answer those and ensure what it is in the range and how we talk about it.”

Evolution not revolution

Walker said the addition of 100 new stores last year, with another 100 or so set to open in 2019, was opening the business not only to new customers in new areas, but a slightly different customer base. He cited the new franchise at Leeds University, and the increasing number of stores opening under apartment blocks with shared living and dining spaces.

“There is an interesting growth in a new ways of living and people will buy groceries in a different way,” he said.

“We’re seeing the involvement of customers, and new relationship with BWS. It’s an exciting time in the industry, we’re seeing format ideas coming through, replicating how people want to have that relationship with wine, and we can tap into those trends.”

“And as the customer is always evolving, so the portfolio is always evolving too – so we’re always on toes about how range develops.”

Range review were, he said, a constant ‘evolution rather than the more expensive revolution’, but recent refreshes have been bearing fruit.

“Sales growth is coming through, we can refine it and make it easier for customers, that’s the challenge, how to execute it and make it easier for customers to shop.”

The Co-op has seen wine sales grow ahead of the market in 2018, up 4.2%, with market share up 0.3 percentage points. The convenience retailer already over-indexes in BWS and is now supplying an extra 4,000 independent stores through its acquisition with Nisa.

By Arabella Mileham

Source: The Drink Business

Co-op joins forces with Kent University

March 16, 2019

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

Co-op CEO named as finalist for women’s business award

March 12, 2019
// Co-op CEO Jo Whitfield announced as finalist for Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award
// Whitfield is the first female CEO of a British food retailer
// Winners will be announced in May

Co-op chief executive Jo Whitfield has been announced as a finalist for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award.

The award is the longest-running for female business leaders, recognising some of the UK’s most notable business women since 1972.

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The panel of judges have acknowledged Whitfield’s work in the grocery sector, as well as being the first female chief executive of a British grocer.

Whitfield has led Co-op’s food and grocery division since March 2017.

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Also in the running in the same category as Whitfield is Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon.

The winners will be announced on May 23.

By Sahar Nazir

Source: Retail Gazette

UK Retailer The Co-op Announces Franchise Recruitment Programme

February 20, 2019

UK retailer The Co-op has announced details of a new franchise programme, which offers independent retailers the opportunity to become a part of the brand.

The retailer aims to expand its business by adding new Co-operative branded stores through this programme.

This programme is in addition to the retailer’s plan to launch around 100 new stores in 2019.

‘A Significant Milestone’

Head of new channels at The Co-op, Martin Rogers, said, “This is a significant milestone in our franchise ambition and we’re looking for the right retailers in the right locations to share in our success and help widen the reach of Co-operative products.”

Co-op franchisees will gain access to a full-service model, receive support, tools, and training that will help them to grow their business with The Co-op.

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

The franchise stores will offer a wide range of branded and private-label lines.

‘A Strong Track Record’

Rogers added, “We’ve got a strong track record in delivering quality products for our customers, and we know that when we work together to achieve a common purpose, great things can happen.

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“We’re a business that’s growing and innovating to give our customers more of what they need.”

Customers will also be able to avail of The Co-op’s membership scheme in these stores, which gives a 5% reward on purchasing own-brand products, and donates an additional 1% to the local community.

Source: ESM Magazine

Co-op to launch first ever franchise stores

February 13, 2019

Co-op will launch franchise stores this year for the first time ever

Franchised stores will offer customers the same access to the Co-op’s membership scheme

The stores will also provide a 5% reward on any purchase of own-brand lines

The Co-op has announced plans to launch franchise stores, the first time the grocer would pursue this in its 175 year history.

The supermarket said it planned to create “a significant number of new Co-op branded stores” under its franchise offering, and will license its brand to independent retailers as part of its progressive expansion program to open around 100 stores this year.

This proposition for independent retailers who “share Co-op’s values and principles” will allow them to become part of the Co-op franchise, in addition to having access to the grocer’s own brand product which is currently available in 4000 stores following its acquisition of Nisa.

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Franchised stores will offer customers the same access to the Co-op’s membership scheme, which provides a five per cent reward on any purchase of own-brand lines, while one per cent of purchases will be donated to charity.

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

“This is a significant milestone in our franchise ambition and we’re looking for the right retailers in the right locations to share in our success and help widen the reach of Co-op products,” head of new channels Martin Rogers said.

“We have been trialling our franchise model since last spring, with our fourth store opening this month, and we have seen a minimum 50 per cent uplift on sales in these stores.

“We now have the capability to deliver franchising at scale, offering our award-winning food, in new places to attract new customers and members.”

Source: Retail Gazette

Co-op launches franchise

October 5, 2018

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

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

July 6, 2018

Costcutter has grown sales at one of its company-owned stores by up to 70% following its conversion to a Co-op franchise.

The unknown location converted to the Co-op franchise model several months ago as a Costcutter Group trial.

Costcutter CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer said the trial had been “very successful” and that it plans to convert several other company-owned Costcutter stores to Co-op franchises before rolling out Co-op franchise opportunities to Costcutter retailers, including those that have already expressed an interest in the model. Willson-Rymer said the further trials would make sure the model works well before offering it to its retailers.

Related: Costcutter founder Colin Graves to advise Co-op on wholesale and franchising

It is understood that Costcutter has less than 20 company-owned store sites.

Under the Costcutter-Co-op supply deal, the Co-op has granted Costcutter the ability to act as a “master franchisee,” overseeing and managing Costcutter stores that make the switch.

Costcutter had expected a sales uplift of 30-40% but when the stats came back it revealed 60-70% sales growth at the trial site.

Source: Better Retailing