Move over Theo Paphitis, Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne - there are some new dragons in town.

Staff at the Co-operative Group's food retail division have taken part in a special version of BBC2 series Dragons' Den, in which budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to leading business figures.

Employees from store staff to drivers were invited to put forward ideas they thought could generate sales and improve the bottom line.

The 600 ideas submitted were whittled down to four, which were pitched by store teams to the Co-op Group's own panel of 'dragons' in the final. The panel included Simon Woodroffe, owner of Yo! Sushi, who appeared in the first series of Dragons' Den; Co-op Group chief executive Martin Beaumont; and head of food retail Guy McCracken.

The winning team was the Eco Warriors, a group of store managers from North Wales who presented an idea to run a nationwide environment-themed promotion across the society's stores.

Promoting eco-friendly products in Co-op stores would deliver sustainable sales growth by attracting new and existing customers, they said.

"We were knocked out

by the standard of entries and the level of work put into them, but the professionalism and enthusiasm shown by the semi-finalists, and the finalists in particular, was outstanding," said McCracken.

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