Just a few months ago, Murrells took us shopping around the convenience specialist’s Shoreditch store to talk us through its turnaround plan and further challenges facing the business.
The introduction of the national living wage has created cost pressures for the mutual, while the shock of the Brexit vote has caused a slump in the pound – something that could spark higher sourcing costs for grocers.
Murrells admits: “We’ve got to strike this balance between supporting the supply base, the pressures that they are under and of course the impact that a devalued pound has, but trying to minimise the level of inflation that flows through.”
Quality and breadth in range
Amid that challenging backdrop, Murrells discusses the importance the Co-op places on its own brand range, having invested heavily in the quality and broadness of its proposition over the past two years, as well as bringing a New Look to its packaging.
Murrells describes the rebrand of the business as a “bold” move that is “really starting to work well” for the grocer as it ramps up its efforts to compete with the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s in convenience.
But another competitor, US etail giant Amazon, is now emerging on the UK grocery scene – and Murrells has his say on the Co-op’s newest rival.
“Anybody that big that really wants to make a move is a concern,” Murrells says, but insists the online titan will hurt the big four and Ocado more than the Co-op as it continues its journey to become “number one in convenience.”