Some interesting Co-op related stories
Last year at the Glastonbury music festival the Co-op opened a convenience shop built in the campsite area of the Somerset-based festival. This year the Co-op announced an exclusive partnership with Glastonbury to open a shop at the 2019 festival. Glastonbury’s famously high environmental and community responsibility standards led to Co-op being carefully selected as the festival’s retail partner. The agreement between the two is founded on our shared ethos of co-operation, community support, ethical values and campaigning to make meaningful change.
This partnership builds on the success the retailer had at music festivals last year, and will see a Co-op, which regularly welcomes 175,000 people. Selling a wide range of food, drink and festival essentials like sandwiches, water, bacon, eggs and bread alongside the obligatory sun cream and rain ponchos, the store will relieve festival goers of having to stock up on
New delivery thoughts.
The Co-op aims to rev up sales with a new pedal-powered online delivery service. It is the first time that we have offered online deliveries via a dedicated website, and orders will initially be fulfilled using zero-emission electric cargo bikes, which are human-powered but feature an electric motor for assistance.
The Co-op online delivery service enables shoppers to order products at shop.coop.co.uk, and receive delivery within two hours at a convenient allocated time. The service will initially be available to shoppers within a four-kilometre radius of a store on the Kings Road in Chelsea, before being rolled out to a further eight London stores. Ultimately there are plans to make online shopping available in a significant number of UK towns and cities.
Chris Conway, Head of Food Digital at the Co-op, said: “This is an exciting time for the Co-op, with trials underway on a number of new, online initiatives. As the leaders in convenience shopping, we want to look at different ways of bringing our award-winning products closer to shoppers, and this new service does exactly that.”
Shoppers will initially receive their orders within two hours during the trial, and there is a standard £5 delivery charge and a £15 minimum spend. All prices are the same as they are in stores, and a free click and collect service is available.
The Co-op is also exploring a number of different home delivery schemes and has recently announced a free service by taxi for groceries at eight stores in towns and cities around the UK.
Co-op is also trialling the use of robots in Milton Keynes, where autonomous robots - developed by Starship Technologies - are being used to make small deliveries from a local store.
New research commissioned by the Co-op Group shows that 18% of British people are unaware of modern slavery.
The study was published recently to coincide with the second anniversary of Bright Future, an employment scheme that brings charities and businesses together to create jobs for victims of modern slavery.
The programme started two years ago when the Co-op Group began working with charity City Hearts to help modern slavery survivors regain control of their lives by getting back into paid employment.
Eighteen businesses and 26 charities have joined the scheme so far. However, raising awareness of modern slavery remains a key challenge. According to the research, one in five Brits remain “totally unaware” of modern slavery. Around 82% of those surveyed had heard of modern slavery and believed more should be done to combat it. Of these, 47% wanted more information to advise people on how to spot the signs of those who may be captives and almost four in ten (36%) believed employers could do more to help victims find work.
The Bright Future scheme has already helped to provide employment to 50 survivors, with the Co-op Group estimating that 300 will secure placements by 2020.
One such person was Martin from Poland who fell into a situation of labour exploitation and was forced to work in fruit and vegetable factories as well as doing agricultural labour. During this time, he was not being paid any wages and was severely assaulted. He reported one of the assaults to the police, who then referred him to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for specialist trafficking support.
Once his case was shared with Bright Future, he was offered a placement in a Co-op store, where he has been over the past 10 months. He says: “Bright Future has changed my life for the better. I now have a steady income, am able to pay my bills independently, and pay off past debts.”
Paul Gerrard, director of Campaigns at the Co-op said the Bright Future scheme had attracted some of the UK’s top businesses, including John Lewis, Typhoo, Dixons Carphone and the Body Shop – but that there was more to do.
This follows the launch of the retailer’s “Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities” campaign. The Co-op points to a backdrop of rising retail crime; ram-raid attacks on cashpoint machines – which can particularly affect rural areas where a Co-op convenience store’s ATM might be the only one for miles around – were featured in the December 2017 print issue of Professional Security magazine.
The fog cannons are of particular use the retailer says in the kiosk area – a target for crime due to the sale of age-restricted products. Once activated, the fog obscures an intruder’s vision, and covers the criminal in a spray containing SmartWater’s forensic signature. Invisible to the naked eye, an amount of SmartWater spray equivalent in size to a speck of dust can help police with identification. It is guaranteed to last at least five years, the developers add.
And Andrew Needham, Co-op Head of Retail Loss and Costs, said: “Safety and security is our number one priority. We know that violence and crime is about much more than statistics, it is about its impact on people’s lives and the communities in which they live and work. As a community-based organisation we see the impact of social issues in our stores, and we’re committed to playing our part and working together to do all we can to protect colleagues and make our communities safer.”
The Co-op has taken steps aimed at cutting back de-forestation and the loss of native vegetation caused by ever-expanding soy cultivation with a commitment to 100% sustainable soy, it has announced this week.
We have funded 100% RTRS* Credits for the soy in its products, and in its supply chain. The move is designed to protect the natural environment against the impact of increasing demand for the versatile crop, and to ensure that soy becomes sustainable and deforestation-free in the long term.
The Co-op has funded credits for the three years to the end of 2020, with the credits directly benefitting the natural environment and supporting sustainable producers – with an estimated 99% of the Credits funded by the Co-op covering soy used in animal feeds in its supply chain.
Sarah Wakefield, Co-op’s Sustainable Sourcing & Fairtrade Manager, said: “Soy plays a part in the production of many products, far more than many people realise – the average European eating over 60kg a year. The increasing demand for animal feed and rising global consumption of meat is having a major impact on the environment in major soya producing countries in South America, as well as the wildlife which depends on the native vegetation for its very survival. This is an issue which will create major challenges for the environment tomorrow, unless transparent, joined-up and, decisive steps are taken today.”
The Co-op backs the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Soy ambitions for an industry-led approach to send a clear market signal for soy that protects forests, native vegetation and livelihoods. It will work with partners in producing countries and suppliers to understand the challenges and the solutions required, while working with others to influence a wider market shift towards deforestation-free soya supply chains and to improve wider understanding of the UK soya impact.
The Co-op will review the approach of credit purchasing for supporting change next year (2020) and will annually report on progress.
In the last 12 weeks, Aldi commanded a 9.7% market share, compared to Morrisons at 9.6%. The combined market share of Aldi and Lidl stood at 16%, up from 14.6% year on year.
In contrast, the combined market share of the big four supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons - was 64.1%, down from 65.6% last year, Nielsen revealed.
Grocery sales in March increased by 1.2%, below the CPI inflation rate of 1.9% and down from 2.5% growth in the previous month.
Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, Mike Watkins, said: “The first quarter of 2019 has shown a continued slowdown in consumer spending on grocery, with the average household spend each week on groceries amounting to £71, back to the level last seen in October 2017 (excluding March 2018, where sales were stronger due to the ‘Beast from the East’ which caused people to stock up, and an early Easter).
“This means that grocery spend remains broadly unchanged in the last 18 months despite inflation. We can see a change in shopping behaviour as well as a shift in sentiment as households shop around to make savings.”
Aldi and Lidl enjoyed the highest sales growth in the 12 weeks to 23 March, at 14.7% and 9.8% respectively, while the Co-op Group’s sales rose by 2.5% and Waitrose’s by 1.2%. Sales at Tesco, Morrisons and Asda were less than a percentage point, while Sainsbury’s sales declined by -1.6%.
More than 850 lines have been rolled out to partners since the acquisition of Nisa by Co-op in May last year and the final phase of the roll-out will commence later this month, making almost 2,000 Co-op own-brand products, including 350 fresh lines, available to Nisa and Costcutter retailers.
More than 6% of all Nisa sales value to partners is now made up of Co-op own brand, and around 98% of Nisa partners have now purchased Co-op products. Chilled lines are particularly popular with milk, fresh poultry, fresh meat and sandwiches all performing well.
Speaking at the Nisa’s annual trade show in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, chief executive Ken Towle said: “The introduction of Co-op own-brand lines has been a great success, and our partners are trading better as a result. It has been particularly helpful in some key categories such as fresh, and we are now trading ahead of the industry as a whole.”
All Co-op own label products sold in Nisa retailers’ stores will now also carry a donation of 0.6% to MADL, Nisa’s sales-based local charity programme.
The group has recruited 1,006 stores in the last 12 months, marking a 25% leap in recruits over the 805 stores from the previous year, Nisa reported, with a further 93 stores joining in the current year. The group has grown its retail field team by more than 40% to offer increased support to retailers as the group rolls out the benefits from its tie-up with the Co-op
Commenting on the results, sales director Steve Leach said: “As part of the Co-op family, our partners have access to a fantastic range coupled with industry-leading service and support. We continue to invest in our support teams and new store formats to help our partners operate more profitably.
A number of independent Nisa and Costcutter retailers are set to become Co-op franchisees by the end of the financial year, C-Store has learned.
The Co-op Group’s head of new channels, Martin Rogers, said an even mix of retailers from both symbol groups would be joining its franchise programme in the third and fourth quarters.
“There’s a number of retailers who we’re firming up plans with. We’re being selective, cautious and choosy – we want to protect the Co-op brand. The selection process is quite vigorous,” he told C-Store.
“We have an audit process, monthly and then quarterly for franchise stores. But independent c-store retailers are very proactive in protecting the brand.”
He said the new Leeds University Co-op franchise store was “absolutely flying”, with its food-to-go sales already within the top three in the Co-op estate and fresh accounting for more than 50% of sales.
In addition, the vast majority of transactions took place in the self-serve tills, Rogers added. Other categories performing well were vegan, free from and international. “Every category is massively up on the previous store,” he said.
To meet the criteria to operate franchise stores, independent retailers need to operate a store turning over £20,000 per week within a sales area of over 2,000sq ft, and a back of house (warehouse) of over 800sq ft