The Co-operative is one to watch say retail experts

23 March 2009

Retail analysis experts IGD have singled out The Co-operative Group as one of its “10 to watch” during 2009.

IGD, formerly the Institute of Grocery Distribution, publishes an annual list of the top 10 worldwide businesses whose “innovative and exciting approaches” mark them out.

This year’s list features the Manchester-based Co-operative Group, praised for its focus on responsible local retailing, its brand strength and communications and its strong focus on convenience.

IGD’s report states:  “The Co-operative Group is the largest convenience and neighbourhood retailing group in the UK, and offers unparalleled reach across all areas of the country. It makes for an interesting case study of a retailer committed to responsible retailing yet seeking to re-establish its position in the market.”

The Group’s recent acquisition of Somerfield, making it the UK’s fifth largest food retailer with around 3,000 food stores, was another reason for its recognition by IGD, as well as its major rebranding and refurbishment programme and current high-profile TV advertising campaign.

The report also highlighted The Co-operative Group’s increasing membership, especially among younger people, and its like-for-like sales, which have grown for the last 12 successive quarters.

“All this combined with a socially responsible attitude – a winning formula and definitely one with some key learnings,” concluded IGD.

Peter Marks, The Co-operative Group’s Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted, and very proud, that The Co-operative Group has been recognised by IGD. It is a great endorsement of the continued hard work by everyone here, and in particular the success of our brand campaign and of our food business.”