Clydebank Co-operative, one of only two independent Co-operative Societies in Scotland, has appointed its first female chief executive as the Society restructures its retail operation and builds its funeral business.
Fiona McInnes, who has been deputy chief executive since 2011, was made acting chief executive after the departure last year of her predecessor Robert Sider. Her appointment was ratified by the board of directors, led by recently appointed president Philip Allan earlier this month but she has already overseen the reopening of the group’s iconic department store in Clydebank.
“We’re trading again from the ground floor with a mixture of concessions and rented units,” McInnes confirmed. “Clydebank Co-operative is returning to its core values of providing the communities in which we operate with the goods and services they want at affordable prices, and excellent customer service.
“We had scaled back our non-food business but we have to be led by our customers,” she continued. “It’s still early days for the department store but we’re confident that we are providing a much-needed service for local people who know and trust the Clydebank Co-operative name.
“It is important that we respond to changing consumer trends and continue to rejuvenate the business but it is equally important for us to hold on to the co-operative principles on which we were founded almost 135 years ago.”
Clydebank Co-operative’s five convenience stores – at Faifley, Dalmuir, Parkhall, Kilbowie in Clydebank and Great Western Road, Glasgow – are now supplied by the delivered wholesaler JW Filshill. The society withdrew from the co-operative movement’s buying group, Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG), two years ago.
The group’s jointly branded Clydebank Co-operative/KeyStore outlet in Knightwood in Glasgow’s west end is no longer part of the society’s portfolio, having been taken over by an independent retail operator.
“Our food stores are performing well and sales are up,” said McInnes. “We continue to work closely with Filshill to make our ranging more relevant to the needs of today’s shoppers and the locations of our stores. It’s a very successful partnership that we intend to build on.”
The society’s funeral home in Clydebank and two satellite units, in Knightswood and Maryhill, also form a key strand of Clydebank Co-operative’s business. “Our funeral services division is one of our key growth areas,” said McInnes. “Again, we’re a very trusted name in the Clydebank area where we plan and organise more than 600 funerals each year.”
Meanwhile, Clydebank Co-operative’s robust property portfolio of over 50 properties is also performing well. “Properties are rented to an assortment of businesses including convenience stores, gyms, bookmakers and pubs, bringing in over £700,000 per annum,” said McInnes.
The society has a projected turnover of over £9m.