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As reported in Convenience Store magazine, The Co-operative Group has linked with the ethical living app CoGo to feature 286 of its London stores on the platform, to help drive shopper engagement with the Co-op's ethical agenda around key themes such as fairtrade sourcing.

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Midcounties Co-operative has become the first UK retailer to make it a requirement for suppliers to provide information about the source of their products.

By introducing new scanning technology, customers are able to view the ingredients used in products sold under the ‘Best of our Counties’ range.  The technology was introduced at a store in Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire, one of IGD’s 14 ‘must see’ food stores, and a store that is recognised for sourcing over 800 products locally.

Transparency within the supply chain

Happerley is a UK organisation seeking to develop transparency within the supply chain, allowing customers to see the journey their ingredients have been on.  The Happerley app is compatible with iPhone and Android handsets and allows customers to scan QR codes at point of sale.  Matthew Rymer, the founder of Happerley said, “The Happerley mark shows the supplier has no need to hide its ingredients, and that there’s a value to its ingredients that it is keen to reflect.  Ultimately, we want this to be a sign of reassurance, so the consumer can explore the journey of their ingredients.”

Increasing consumer awareness

Phil Ponsonby, Chief Executive of Midcounties Co-operative said, “Transparency in the UK food supply chain is something that consumers are increasingly becoming more aware of.  The Happerley app will allow our customers to find out exactly where their food has come from and the journey it’s been on to reach their plates, and we’re proud we can prove traceability in our locally sourced products.”

Co-op confirms 2019 plans, including 100 new food stores supported by the development of a new distribution centre in Bedfordshire. As part of its £200 million store investment programme, Co-op is planning to build on its convenience strategy by opening new stores and providing major renovations to around 200 stores.

Approximately a third of the new stores are planned to be in London and the South East.  The new stores may also include new food-to-go style stores at key commuting locations. It is planned that more than 40 stores will open, or be upgraded in Scotland in 2019, and at least 10 stores in Wales.

New depot in South East

Co-op announced in November that it had secured space to develop a £45m distribution depot in Bedfordshire.  It is expected that the depot will open in early 2022 and will support Co-op’s “ambitious growth plans” said Jo Whitfield, Co-op retail chief executive.

This follows the £6m distribution centre that was opened at Inverness Airport Business Park in August 2018.  The Dalcross site is equipped to service double-decker vehicles, which could contribute to a reduction in wasted road miles and reduced CO2 emissions.  The facility is well placed to deliver to communities in the north of Scotland.

 Source: Co-op

Stuart Hookins, Co-op’s Director of Portfolio and Development, said: “This year (2019), will be the fourth consecutive year of opening around 100 new stores, and investing in a core convenience estate which has seen over four years of consecutive like for like sales growth.”  

Co-op has announced plans for a new £45m distribution centre to support its ongoing growth.

100 new stores in 2018

Co-op is currently on-track to open 100 new stores in 2018. The new facility, which will be in Bedfordshire’s Symmetry Park, Biggleswade, will support the retailer’s growth across London, the South, and the South East of England. Construction of the distribution centre is due to begin in H2 2019.

Agility, scale and efficiency

Andy Perry, Supply Chain & Logistics Director, Co-op, said: “The infrastructure and site selection will deliver greater agility, scale and efficiency - improving service and availability at existing stores while building capacity to support our store investment programme and ambitions for continued growth.

“The new site will form part of an integrated review and rebalancing of volumes across our network – it will provide greater scale while future-proofing our operations. The move will reduce road miles, overall supply chain costs and supports our stores in the South by having more of our products closer to our members and customers and the communities in which they live and work.”


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19 September, Manchester
Succeeding together. The supplier engagement day will help delegates learn practical ways to action Co-op’s strategy and will also give you the chance to help strengthen relationships and businesses together.

A practical one day workshop for all roles in suppliers, to help develop your understanding of the vital part that supply chains play in underpinning FMCG businesses.