The Co-operative Group is poised to complete the roll out of its brand format to Co-operative stores by the end of the year and to Somerfield stores in the early part of 2011.
Speaking at the 2010 IGD Convention on Tuesday, Tim Hurrell, managing director – food retail, said the ranges had already been aligned in terms of pricing and products would be rebranded to the Co-operative in early 2011. The Somerfield brand will be dropped from advertising in the next few weeks and the Somerfield head office will close in 2011, he said. A new Co-operative head office is being built in Manchester, scheduled to open in 2012.
Hurrell said the moves were all part of the strategy to “grow our market share and get back what we believe is rightfully ours”.
In the mid-60s, The Co-operative had a 25% market share but it declined rapidly over the next three decades to a low of 5% in 2000. Following the acquisition of Somerfield, the share has increased to 7%. It trades from 3,000 stores and 4,000 including those in the wider movement and has a turnover of £8bn.
Hurrell described The Co-operative as a sleeping giant that has woken up and a brand with a great personality.
It has completed a complex supply chain integration and sales were ahead of the market, he said.
Now it is beginning to exploit The Co-operative difference.
This includes sustainable sourcing from its own farms – 50,000 acres – and promoting ranges such as Grown by Us.