Co-op and Leeds University Union join forces to open franchise store

28 February 2019

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Leeds University Union (LUU) has joined forces with the Co-op to transform the existing union supermarket – known as Essentials - and create a new-look store to better serve the campus community.

The store is the Co-op’s first franchise on a University campus - supporting the Co-op’s strategy to get closer to communities and to where its members and customers live and work, what they want, need and, care about locally.

The new store opened earlier this month (February) at Leeds University, part of the Russell Group, offering Co-op’s full range of fresh, healthy foods, extended vegan and free-from products, Fairtrade produce, food-to-go, in-store bakery and, essentials.

The store is managed and run by LUU staff and its members, and relaunched following major investment to deliver Co-op quality, value and values conveniently.

The Co-op gives TOTUM cardholders 10% discount off groceries, and brings funding boosts for local causes through its Membership scheme.

Members receive a 5% reward on purchases of own-brand products, with the Co-op donating a further 1% to local causes. Causes currently benefitting include: Rainbow Junktion – a café in Regent Terrace, Leeds, dedicated to preventing food waste; Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre (HEART) – which works to confront loneliness and social isolation and, the Hyde Park Picture House which is raising funds to offer free screenings to enable people living with dementia to reconnect with memories.

Union Affairs Officer, Chris Morris said:

“Following student feedback we have been keen to secure a leading retail partner, and the Co-op is the perfect fit - delivering real benefits to student life and shared values including concern for environment, community, trading fairly, health and well-being and, employment opportunities. We already sold a selection of Co-op products, and this enables us to offer a full range, with the availability and service you would expect from an award-winning retailer – we look forward to working with Co-op on a Union Shop that works for and listens to student needs.”

Martin Rogers, Co-op’s Head of New Channels, said:

“We have had a great response. This is an important development for the Co-op, franchises provide an exciting opportunity to grow our brand and generate mutual value with selected partners. At the heart of the Co-op it is about connecting communities, bringing people together and making a difference. We have a long-standing partnership with NUS and so this relationship with LUU is a natural progression. An exciting opportunity to grow our brand together, and make more of our products available in a new community. The new Leeds campus store will have the range, choice, ease and convenience tailored to serve campus needs – we look forward to working closely with LUU and serving the Leeds University campus community.”

Di Harvey, Store Manager – who has worked for LUU for almost 30 years, said:

“This is a really exciting partnership, and I am thrilled to have an opportunity to launch the store. It has a great new look and range, it will really transform the shopping experience on campus - offering great quality products conveniently along with Co-op’s value and values. We will be working hard to ensure the store is at the heart of campus community life.

“We also want students and staff to know that they can become a Member of the Co-op, with the store giving back to the community every time a member swipes their Membership card when buying own brand products. I really do want people to come and talk to the team, to find out more about the Co-op and the ways in which it makes a difference and gets closer to what its customers want, need and care about. And, to find out more about the benefits of being a Member. The store has a fantastic new look and, we are looking forward to serving the campus.”

Further information about the benefits of Co-op Membership is available by visiting

Media Contacts:

Andrew Torr
Co-op Press Office
M: 07702 505 551