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Co-op plans ecommerce growth as it sets sights on becoming UK’s largest convenience retailer

Shoppers in a branch of the Co-op scan to buy their shopping in-store. Image courtesy of the Co-op

The Co-op is set to continue growing its ecommerce business as it sets its sights on becoming the UK’s largest convenience retailer. The retailer says it will build on its capital-light tie-ups with Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Amazon that support its own direct to consumer business. It will also grow its store network, with the ambition of more than trebling the existing number of franchise stores within three years. Currently there are almost 5,000 independent convenience stores on its franchise platform. 

At the same time, it is cutting food prices, reducing the price of more than 120 own-brand products by an average of 13%, and by as much as 36%. It also promises that improved Co-op member offers will drive loyalty and grow both the size of shopping baskets and the number of trips that shoppers make to its stores. 

Shirine Khoury-Haq, chief executive of the Co-op, says: “Convenience is one of the fastest growing channels within the grocery market and our refreshed strategy aims to capitalise on the experience we’ve gained in the market over the last decade. We’ve grown our own business to operate more than 2,500 Co-op operated stores, have built a nationwide franchise platform and serve almost 5,000 independent convenience stores through our wholesale arm.

“As we face into a cost-of-living crisis we are determined to make life fairer for our members, customers and communities in these extraordinary times and lowering prices for shoppers is the first-step in our strategy.” 

Matt Hood, MD Co-op Food, says:“We are one of the most frequently visited food retailers, with over 16m shoppers each week. This inflation beating multi-million pound investment will reduce prices on everyday items at a time when consumers face even higher household bills and kick starts our new-look food strategy to extend our scale and reach through capital light opportunities, focusing on launching new stores with great franchise partners.” 

he news comes as the Co-op Group reports revenues of £5.6bn in the first half of its financial year, flat on last year, and pre-tax profits of £7m – down by £37m on a year earlier. he retailer says it has made significant progress against a highly challenging economic backdrop. Co-op grocery saes grew by 1% to £3.9bn, but underlying operating profits of £41m were down on last year’s £68m as inflationary pressures hit.

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