The Co-op is creating up to 250 retail roles with plans to open 12 new food stores in Wales during 2017.
The community retailer’s continued investment in Wales will see a more than £16M programme of food store openings and refits. Alongside a dozen new stores, there are major makeovers for around 20 further stores.
The Co-op opened its first new Welsh store in Rossett, near Wrexham, this week with new stores also planned for Swansea, Cwmbach, Rhayader, Monmouth, Radyr, Pembroke, Llanelli and Machen. Stores in St David’s Park, Old Colwyn, Holyhead, Talgarth and Barmouth have all re-launched with a new look this year after receiving major makeovers.
In addition, the Co-op also has plans to unveil two new funeral homes in Wales this year, with the first due to open in Cwmbran next month (May). Plans for a funeral home in Colwyn Bay are also underway. Its Funeralcare business is also investing in its current estate as part of a wider development programme.
The Co-op now has ambitions to boost the number of active members in Wales to 400,000 by the end of the year, a move which follows the retailer’s return to its iconic “clover leaf” design logo and the re-launch of its membership proposition – Members now receive a 5% reward on purchases of own-branded products and services, with a further 1% directly benefiting local good causes. In Wales, approaching 300 community groups and good causes are this month sharing almost £500,000 which has been raised in just six months.
Described as the fastest growing convenience retailer, the Co-op has out-performed its market over the last year with like-for-like sales up 3.5%, and locally sourcing products is a cornerstone of its food strategy.
In December it awarded contracts to eleven smaller or, micro, breweries to supply around 80 of its Welsh stores including the Great Orme Brewery; Boss Brewing (Swansea): Tiny Rebel (Newport); Gower Brewery and, Glamorgan Brewing Company.
And from May, in a further boost for Welsh agriculture, the Co-op will sell only 100% British own-brand fresh beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon and turkey. It is already the only retailer to use British meat in all its chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches.
Tina Mitchell, Managing Director for the Co-op, Wales, said:
“Continued investment in our brand and our business is delivering benefits for colleagues, members and communities right across Wales. And, consumers are responding to our commitment to doubling the number of local suppliers. Quality, trust and provenance are key for customers and we are working closely with smaller producers. It is their traditions, passion, and innovation which makes their products loved locally, and as a community retailer we are committed to championing great Welsh food and drink.
“The Co-op is moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum, and it is our aim to establish our stores as a local hub and a centre for the community. We want shoppers to know that they can become a co-owner and member of their Co-op, and that members have an opportunity to make a difference locally. Simply by swiping their membership card when they shop with us they are raising much needed funding for organisations in their community who contribute to improving local life.”
MD of Edwards of Conwy, Simon James, added:
“Since launching with Co-op we have been able to reach a wide range of new customers. Often located in agricultural communities, many Co-op stores are essential in providing all the range you would find in a larger supermarket as well as being convenient. Accessing these customers who perhaps weren’t aware of the Edwards range has helped us grow our sales and allows us continue to invest in expanding the number of local staff we employ as well as our business capability. Co-ops passion for providing its customers with high quality locally produced foods at a fair price fits perfectly with our own long established heritage for being a highly skilled producer of quality meat products.”
Further information about the benefits of Co-op membership and, its Local Community Fund, are available by visiting: http://www.coop.co.uk/membership/