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Co-op adds Amazon Prime and more robots to its home delivery services as it plans to grow online sales to £200m

The Co-op is expanding its use of robots as it grows its online sales. Image courtesy of Starship Technologies

The Co-op today added Amazon Prime and more robots to the ways that customers can now order fast home delivery of groceries. It plans to more than double its online sales from £70m to £200m by the end of this year. 

Shoppers in Glasgow and nearby Hamilton and Paisley will be the first to be able to buy Co-ope groceries through the Amazon Prime service, which promises same-day delivery and two-hour delivery slots to Amazon subscribers. The service will then be rolled out to other parts of the UK this year. The long-term ambition is for it to become a national service. 

The Co-op is also expanding its partnership with Starship Technologies, through which it already offers robotic deliveries in locations including Milton Keynes in as little as 20 minutes. The plan is that by the end of this year, 500 Starship robots – up from 200 now – will be delivering Co-op groceries from a range of 3,000 items in areas including Cambridgeshire  and the North of England. 

Steve Murrells, group chief executive of Co-op, says: “The pandemic has accelerated changes in consumer shopping trends and we’re driving forward with exciting plans to provide rapid kerb to kitchen grocery delivery services. 

“We are delighted to be working with Amazon. Its reach and leading technology and innovative approach means greater convenience for people in their communities. This, combined with our extended partnership with Starship Technologies, marks a significant milestone in our online strategy.” 

Jo Whitfield, chief executive of Co-op Food, said: “Co-op stores across the country are well placed to serve shoppers locally and a key part of our strategy is to further develop our ecommerce offer by using the competitive advantage of our store footprint to provide ultra- fast home deliveries. As a convenience retailer, the ability to come into stores will always be important to customers, but we also know that they want flexible options online. Our commercial strategy is focused on getting closer to where they are to provide what they need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.” 

The news came as Co-op today said online food sales in the first half of this year were about five times higher than in the same period in 2020, as online deliveries were made from 1,000 more food shops. The food business reported sales of £3.6n. That was 2.8% down on the first half of 2020, but 6.5% ahead of the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. During the year the retailer opened 33 more shops. 

In the wider group, revenue of £5.6bn was 3.2% lower than in 2020 but 4% higher than in 2019. Group pre-tax profit came in at £44m, 38% lower than last year. But at the bottom line, it reported an underlying loss of £15m after costs including the repayment of government furlough cash.


The Co-op said that the post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU had clarified – to an extent – the trading relationship between the two, and that there had been fewer shortages than initially feared. It adds: “We continue to focus on reducing the impact of the significant challenges related to the movement of products between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in line with new regulatory requirements, some of which have not yet been implemented or even clearly defined. 

“We are yet to fully understand the broader economic impact on the UK, and our businesses, of leaving the European Union.” 

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