Costcutter Supermarkets Group celebrates another successful Co-op franchise conversion

November 18, 2020

Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG) reports it is celebrating a further successful franchise conversion by transforming its company-owned store in Fremington, North Devon to a Co-op store.

 
CSG’s says that its market-leading business growth transformation programme, Shopper First, proved instrumental in helping the store develop and deliver continuous sales growth by ensuring it had a strong, relevant offer for today’s convenience shopper, which saw the potential of the Fremington outlet to become a Co-op franchise.

The conversion of the 2,600 sq.ft. store to a Co-op, saw a joint £250,000 investment from both CSG and Co-op, and has created six new jobs, said CSG. The store now offers the award-winning, ethically-sourced, Fairtrade Co-op Own Brand range and focuses on fresh healthy produce, wines and ready meals, along with a wide selection of Free-From and vegan products.

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The Co-op franchise opportunity through CSG aims to offer retailers and investors across the UK the opportunity to open a Co-op store, with the combined support of both CSG and the Co-op.

Lucy Frost, director of franchise at CSG, commented: “The Fremington store marks another milestone in our exclusive convenience retail-franchise agreement with Co-op and clearly demonstrates our commitment to widening our reach and building on our joint success in convenience retailing.

“Alongside our work with investors and independent retailers to progress Co-op franchise opportunities, we have continued to explore how we can build on the successes we have seen in the transformation of our other company stores to Co-op franchises and Fremington was the obvious next choice to help us expand our franchise footprint. Previous company-owned stores have increased turnover by a minimum of 50 per cent, and we’re confident that Fremington will follow a similar path.

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“Our experience of operating in the convenience sector for over 30 years, together with the strength of the Co-op offer, which shoppers love, has created a strong franchise model. We continuing to work through an exciting pipeline of investors and retailers keen to realise the success that a Co-op franchise can offer.”

Martin Rogers, head of new channels at Co-op, added: “At the Co-op we are always looking for ways to reach new customers and members, and our latest franchise store is a great example of how we are growing our brand to generate mutual value with a likeminded partner.

“Our Co-op purpose is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference and every time our own brand products are purchased with a Co-op Membership card, you know you’re helping communities here and around the world. We have the capability to deliver franchising at scale and we’re confident this will continue to be an attractive proposition for potential investors.”

CSG operates four brands across the UK and the Republic of Ireland consisting of Costcutter, Mace, Simply Fresh and Supershop.

Source: Franchise World

Co-op opens first franchise store in Scotland

November 3, 2020

Community retailer, Co-op, opened its first franchise store in Scotland at Stirling University on Thursday 22 October, with a Nisa partner.

 
The store, which will be managed and run by the Nisa partner, will deliver Co-op quality products and good prices conveniently to students and the community.

With a successful track record and the proven ability to deliver franchising at scale, Stirling University is the 14th Co-op franchise store. The retailer has demonstrated the flexibility of its model by offering a number of routes to market and through a mix of partners including university unions, independent retailers and its latest partnership with catering provider Gather & Gather.

Martin Rogers, Head of New Channels at Co-op said: “At the Co-op we are always looking for ways to reach new customers and members, and this a hugely exciting opportunity to grow our brand north of the border. Our franchise stores operate in exactly the same way as a company owned store and all of our partners have access to a full service model, receiving support, tools and training to enable them to grow their business with Co-op.

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“Our Co-op purpose is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference and we are looking to generate mutual value with likeminded partners and succeed together.”

As part of its strategy to get closer to communities and to what its customers want, need and, care about, franchising extends the reach of the brand and allows Co-op to reach new markets. The model provides a unique proposition for independent retailers who share the Co-op values and principles to become part of the Co-op community.

Located in the Andrew Miller building on the university’s campus, the store will be open to serve customers between 7am and midnight daily and it will also run on 100% renewable electricity. With an ATM and Seattle coffee point, Stirling University Co-op will focus on fresh heathy produce, award-winning wines, ready meals and pizzas, free-from and vegan products, Fairtrade, food-to-go and everyday essentials.

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Students who are Young Scot cardholders can pocket a 10% discount off groceries and contactless card payment limits up to £45 will be accepted, making it easier, quicker and safer to shop.

With safety of paramount importance Co-op has introduced strict measures since the outbreak of Covid-19 including rigorous cleanliness, social distancing, limiting the number of customers in store, protective screens at check-outs, and the wearing of visors and face-coverings. In addition, contactless card payment limits are increased to £45, making it easier, quicker and safer to shop.

By Fiona Briggs

Source: Retail Times

Co-op to create 1,000 jobs and open 50 new stores

September 7, 2020

Grocery chain the Co-op is opening 50 new stores and creating 1,000 new jobs this year.

The new roles come on top of the 1,000 posts it added during lockdown as demand from shoppers increased.

 
The extra jobs announced today will be spread across the new shops and 15 stores that are being enlarged.

The Co-op said its research had found that 70% of adults have relied on their local convenience store for food and other goods in recent months

The retailer also said that it had expanded its online shop.

The Co-op currently employs 55,000 workers across the UK and has 2,600 stores. The new stores will open in areas such as Wrexham, London, Poole, Leeds and Guildford.

Meanwhile up to 12 new Co-op franchise stores are also set to launch this year, including at Oxford Brookes University and Stirling University, with more university locations planned for 2021.

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“We continually look for new locations, sites which are definitively convenient in their community,” said David Roberts, managing director of Co-op Property.

He said more than 100 of the Co-op’s outlets would receive major makeovers as part of a £130m investment programme.

The chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, James Lowman, said: “This commitment to investing in stores in the coming months is testament to the importance of the convenience sector.”

The grocery sector has seen a surge in demand during the pandemic, and the big supermarket chains have also been creating jobs.

Last month, Tesco said it would create 16,000 permanent jobs after the lockdown led to “exceptional growth” in its online business.

‘Financial fallout’

While the grocery sector has done well, other parts of the economy have been hit hard by the pandemic.

It was announced on Friday that 540 workers at Nationwide Accident Repair Services have lost their jobs after the struggling business was sold to RunMyCar in a pre-packaged administration.

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As part of the deal 30 of Nationwide’s sites have been shut.

Founded in 1993 in Witney, Oxfordshire, the business operated 115 garages across the country, as well as a mobile fleet of repair vans, servicing the accident repair market for UK insurers.

But the company suffered a substantial decline in business during lockdown as millions of motorists stayed off the road.

“As with many other businesses, the group had to weather major financial fallout due to the economic impact of Covid-19, which meant that trading volumes were significantly reduced,” said Rob Lewis, joint administrator at PwC.

“Against that backdrop, the sale announced today reflects a significant positive outcome for the business, and we are especially pleased to have safeguarded 2,350 roles including apprentices, mechanics and technicians.

“Sadly we have had to make 540 staff redundant.”

Source: BBC

Co-op Group eyes same-day delivery service for franchise stores

January 4, 2020

The Co-op Group is considering expanding its same-day online delivery service to franchise stores “in the near future”, after confirming plans to roll out the service to 650 company-owned stores this year.

 
In January, Brighton, Bournemouth and Southampton will be among the first new cities to get the service, which is currently only available in London and Manchester.

The rollout over the next 12 months includes services from the Co-op’s own dedicated online shop, known as shop.coop.co.uk, which uses low-emission transport including eco-friendly bikes. By the end of the year same-day deliveries will be available in 650 stores in nearly 100 major towns and cities.

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A Co-op spokeswoman said the group would like to offer the service to franchise stores “in the near future”, with additional back office work required to make it feasible.

The Co-op launched its franchise programme to independent Nisa and Costcutter retailers last year. Somerset retailer Richard Williams became the first Nisa member to convert his store to the Co-op franchise model towards the end of last year.

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The Co-op will also expand its partnership with Deliveroo, which provides on-demand delivery of convenience grocery essentials in under 30 minutes.

Ordering through Deliveroo will be extended to 400 stores, reaching around 100 major towns and cities. Deliveroo will caters for customers who want a quick, impulse buy rather than scheduled same-day delivery, the Co-op said.

By Robin Mannering

Source: Convenience Store

First Nisa Partner Opens Co-op Franchise Store

October 30, 2019

The Co-op yesterday opened its first franchise store with a Nisa partner following the launch of its franchising scheme earlier this year.

 
The store, located in the Brunel Shopping Centre, Somerton, previously traded under the name Williams. It has now reopened under Co-op brand following a £600,000 investment that saw the introduction of an in-store bakery, coffee dispenser and hot food, alongside an extensive range of fresh and locally sourced goods.

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The Somerton store is the eighth Co-op franchise store to open following the society’s decision to licence its brand to independent retailers for the first time in order to accelerate its expansion in the convenience sector. The first seven Co-op franchise stores are said to have seen sales growth in excess of 50% following conversion.

Richard Williams, the Co-op Somerton store owner, commented: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to carry out such a significant investment in Somerton. Our ambition is to ensure that our store remains a local hub and a real asset for the community.”

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Martin Rogers, Head of New Channels at the Co-op, added: “We’re looking for the right retailers in the right locations to share in our success and we are delighted that Richard has come on board as our first Nisa partner franchise.

“Richard’s store is the perfect example of where we can join forces with a well-established, community store, retain the catchment of the retailer whilst offering its shoppers Co-op quality and value products.”

Source: KamCity

Costcutter unveils Co-op franchise package

October 19, 2019

Costcutter Supermarkets Group has officially launched its offer to independent retailers interested in taking on a Co-op franchise.

The package, which operates exclusively through Costcutter for retailers with 10 stores or fewer, was unveiled at the National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham earlier this month (October).

 
Seven franchises are already up and running through the agreement, including three company-owned stores, and Costcutter says the outlets are seeing sales growth of more than 50%.

Benefits for retailers include the creation of a store layout plan, category space allocation and range tailored to their store’s catchment area.

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They also get ongoing support and training in how to implement staff training, store processes and retail routines.

Stores need to have weekly sales of £20,000, excluding VAT and services such as Lotto, Paypoint and Post Office. They also need a sales area of more than 2,000sq ft and back-of-house space of more than 800sq ft.

Martin Rogers, head of new channels at the Co-op, 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-op products. We now have the capability to deliver franchising at scale.”

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Southern Co-op already runs a similar franchise operation, but these stores operate under the Welcome fascia rather than Co-op.

Costcutter’s exclusivity does not extend to university student unions or existing Nisa retailers interested in a Co-op franchise. They would need to go direct to the Co-op.

By David Shrimpton

Source: Talking Retail

Co-op and NUS agree exclusive retail franchise partnership

September 22, 2019

The Co-op has become the exclusive retail grocery store franchise partner for the National Union of Students (NUS) as part of a deal which could see it serving seven million students over the next five years, as more Co-op franchise stores open on NUS member campuses.

The expansion programme aims to create a significant number of new Co-op branded stores under its new franchise offering, as part of its plans to open 100 new stores in 2019.

 
The new stores will be run and managed independently by individual NUS members and will give access to a tailored range of 2,500 Co-op own brand products, with a wide range of fair trade, free-from and vegan options.

Co-op head of new channels Martin Rogers said: “We are delighted to partner with a like-minded organisation, like NUS, and to support the health, wellbeing and employment of students.

“Young people are hugely important for us and we look forward to working closely with NUS members and serving campus communities up and down the UK.

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

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“This is a pioneering opportunity to grow our brand, share our values, and get our products into the hands of the next generation of customers and members.”

NUS vice president of union development Erica Ramos added: “This new agreement with the Co-op builds on our existing relationship and the shared values that sit at the heart of the Co-op, NUS and students’ unions and associations across the UK.

“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to strike this agreement with one of our long-standing partners and look forward to seeing these new franchises taken up by our members.”

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The Co-op has so far opened seven franchise stores, with four based at universities, including Leeds (pictured) and Newcastle.

With a Co-op Membership card, students also get 5% back on purchases of Co-op products and services and TOTUM cardholders get an additional 10% off their shop.

By Gaelle Walker

Source: Convenience Store

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