BT brings digital future to Co-op with network makeover


BT has signed a multi-million pound contract with The Co-operative Group, to overhaul the network infrastructure of the company’s UK food retail business (Co-op). The new superfast and secure fibre network will enable Co-op to invest in its digital in-store experience, providing benefits for both customers and staff.

Under the five year deal, BT will upgrade the legacy IT infrastructure in all of Co-op’s 2,800 local, convenience and medium-sized stores across the UK. This will enable technologies from faster till-transactions to in-store Wi-Fi, transforming the in-store shopping experience for customers and Co-op’s eight million members.

Building on a long-term partnership with Co-op, BT will upgrade its existing network infrastructure to BT’s MPLS platform, providing greater flexibility and more bandwidth to support its growth goals. Key parts of the network will be backed up by other broadband technologies, adding greater resilience to enable the retailer to roll out improved technology with confidence. The new deal follows a visit by the Co-op to the BT Labs at Adastral Park, Ipswich which showcases a number of technologies set to transform the retail experience in the future.

Colm O’Neill, MD of major business and public sector at BT, said: “We’re proud to be helping Co-op transform itself into a truly digital retailer. Shoppers increasingly expect retailers to introduce a digital experience to their physical stores to speed up, simplify and enhance their in-store experience. The new retail technologies and services that Co-op is looking to introduce to bring about this change need to be underpinned by a high-speed, flexible and reliable network. We’re delighted to have been chosen as Co-op’s network partner as it begins its digital transformation journey.”

Co-op, the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and part of The Co-operative Group, is in the midst of a significant business transformation programme, with its core convenience food business reporting increased sales and greater market share.

Cheryl Marshall, retail CIO at Co-op said: “Our partnership with BT is core to enabling our transformation programme in Retail and the wider Co-op. It provides the foundation blocks that future proof our investments and enable a digital future for our customers and members”.