The Co-operative reaches re-brand milestone

September 11, 2008

Patrick AllenThe Co-operative Group, which is currently in the midst of the largest re-branding exercise in UK corporate history, today (11 September) refitted its 2000th outlet with the new The co-operative facia.

The Co-operative food store at Locks Heath, near Southampton, became the milestone outlet when it opened its doors to reveal a £1.6m refit.

The Group, which has a total of 4,200 outlets in all, has now re-branded 1,074 food stores; 298 pharmacy branches; 374 travel agencies; 90 bank branches and 164 funeral homes.

Patrick Allen, Director of Marketing, said:” We have the largest retail network of any corporate organisation in the UK, so to re-brand and refit every outlet is a massive undertaking. Indeed, this year alone we will transform more stores than McDonalds and Starbucks put together, have in this country.

“However, there is far more to our identity than just the logo on our own brand goods and the fascia outside our outlets. One of the main objectives of the re-branding is to improve overall standards and thereby enhance the customer experience.

”This is evidenced by the fact that food stores that have been refitted continue to perform very well showing like for like sales growth of around 12 per cent.”

The re-brand coincides with a revival in the fortunes of The Co-operative Group, which in July 2007 merged with United Co-operatives to create the world’s largest consumer co-operative.

In 2006, The Co-operative re-introduced the famous dividend through its membership scheme whereby members can earn a share of the Group’s profits. Since then the Group has seen the number of active members grow by more than one million to 3.1m, a staggering increase of more than 50 per cent.

There has also been a significant shift in the demographic profile of members who are now younger and more likely to be men.

By presenting their membership card every time they shop, members earn points that are converted into a share of the profits with payment being made twice a year. Because the payments are linked to future profits, the value of the points will vary. Last year members shared a total of  £38.1m, which meant the value of a point was 2.63 per cent, while most retailer loyalty schemes are based on a one per cent return.

“The growth in membership underlines the fact that the Co-operative is enjoying a renaissance.  People are trying out our new look stores and they obviously like what they see. So much so that they are deciding to join us.

“The combination of high quality products coupled with the ability to influence our business, and contribute to our community and social goals agenda, are compelling reasons to join the original and still the best customer loyalty scheme.”