The Co-op is the UK’s seventh largest grocer and operates over 2,400 stores, the bulk of which are neighbourhood convenience stores.
It has been on a turnaround programme known as “Rescue, Rebuild and Renew” for several years, following a flagging performance and near-collapse ten years ago. It entered the final phase of this turnaround in 2018 and the past few years have seen the Co-op performing strongly against its major rivals and creating a Co-op that is “relevant and vital” to a new generation.
Co-op benefits from its small format and convenient locations, which together with its focus on sustainability and community causes give it purpose and brand relevance that ties in with consumer shopping trends.
Under new CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq, in September 2022, Co-op unveiled its new-look food strategy - Pure Convenience. This puts a renewed focus on convenience and commitment to offering greater value, led by a £37m investment to slash the price of over 100 products.
The Co-op hailed a “credible” set of results for the year to December 2022 against a challenging backdrop. Overall group revenue, which includes its insurance and funeral businesses, rose 3.0% to £11,480m, while sales across the core food business edged up 1.7% to £7,810m, including 3.2% like-for-like growth.
Co-op’s food retail growth has been driven by a growing wholesale operation and online expansion. At the end of 2022 it offered online delivery from more than 1,800 stores in partnership with delivery intermediaries, a service that continues to expand. Having more than doubled in FY2021, online sales continued to grow strongly in FY2022, increasing by 24% to £222m. A £45m investment into a new distribution centre, which became operational in 2022, further supports these efforts.
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