Central England Co-op CEO talks about the future of the high street on new podcast

Central England Co-op chief executive Debbie Robinson has given an in-depth interview about the future of the high street as part of a new podcast series.

More Than a Shop is a weekly show that looks for alternative ideas to mainstream problems from people across the co-operative movement.

Debbie spoke at length to presenter Elizabeth Alker about her job, the major changes she has made since taking over, the current and future state of the high street for shoppers and how much ethics, values and principles play a part in consumer decisions.

On the podcast, Robinson said: “Certainly at the centre of the thinking at Central England Co-op is about a 15 minute liveable community and it’s having everything accessible that you need.”

Another topic Debbie covers at great length is her passion to enact change when it comes towards colleague safety.

She said: “We have shared a lot about making the environment itself being really welcoming from a customer’s perspective, I think that’s absolutely crucial. But there’s something that’s very close to our hearts at Central England Co-op, and it’s actually the safety of our colleagues.

“So something that we’re trying to do is to really raise the awareness and each time there is an incident we write to our local MPs, we write to the Home Secretary, and we would be looking for a change in the law that really gives the same custodial sentence to violence against shop workers that you get from public service workers.”

Speaking about the future of the high street, she said: “I think the high street will just continue to evolve. Some businesses will last, some of them will be replaced by other things.”

Listen to Robinson on the More Than a Shop podcast via morethanashop.coop or wherever you get your podcasts from today (3 June).

More Than a Shop is a collaboration between Co‑operatives UK, The Co‑op, Co‑op News, The Co‑operative College and The Co‑operative Heritage Trust. The series is presented by Elizabeth Alker, and it’s produced by Geoff Bird on behalf of Sparklab Productions.