The Co-operative Group has set up a working group to look at branding across the co-op movement in the wake of the Co-op Commission report. The report claimed the "widespread image of the Co-op as an old fashioned retail store," was one of the movement's "greatest weaknesses" and that stronger national branding, a new logo and cross selling of products was necessary. Retail societies failing to meet the brand requirements' of a new Brand Panel could be kicked out of the CRTG or stripped of the logo. The working group will consider how the panel would work in practice and report to the November special congress. At the Co-op congress in May, Co-op Union chairman Bob Burlton said the "proliferation and variation of stores confuses the hell out of people". However, it is still not clear what form common branding might take, and several societies have expressed concerns about commissioners' calls for standard' store formats, layouts and fascias. The Co-operative Group said the discussion process would be "extremely lengthy". {{NEWS }}

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