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Co-op set to launch into online food retailing

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The Co-operative is expected to trial online food sales later this year, it emerged today.

Online now a key focus for grocers looking to expand their sales. Once Morrisons’ online offering, expected by January of next year, is launched the Co-op will be the last of the larger grocers not to sell online. Currently some 3.2% of food purchases take place online, according to the latest ONS figures. IGD figures suggest that the UK grocery market was worth £169.7bn in 2013, 3.7% up on 2013. It puts 2013 online sales at £6.5bn.

Now it has been reported that the Co-op will launch four different trials of online retailing by Christmas, each with a different delivery model. Click and collect is likely to be involved, while it may also learn from the collection lockers that Amazon has sited in some of its stores.

Steve Murrells, chief executive, retail at The Co-operative Group, said today: “We’re currently looking at a number of digital solutions to provide an online grocery offering, which will complement our strong community food retailing position.

“We recognise that the online grocery market is a rapidly growing channel, which provides a significant opportunity for us as, primarily, a convenience retailer. We have trials planned later in the year to help us identify the best convenient solution to online food retailing.”

The Co-op already sells online through its electricals shop.

The Co-op’s half-year results are due out on August 29 where more detail may emerge.

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