Retail co-operatives are looking at pooling their volumes on a global basis to secure better terms from leading branded suppliers.

Speaking from the International Co-operative Alliance general assembly in Oslo, Bob Burlton, Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op CEO, said: “One of the features of the internationalisation of retail is buying on a pan-European or global basis.

“The Co-operative Retail Trading Group is a good example of how we have worked together on a national basis to get the benefits of pooling volumes; there is no logical reason why we can’t do this on a global scale.”

Talks were at a very early stage, said Burlton, but a global version of CRTG would probably focus on big brands in the first instance and then look at own label.

Co-operative Group chairman Keith Darwin said: “Co-ops across the globe buy individually from some of the world’s biggest consumer brand owners and the time is now right to bring much of our significant buying power together for mutual benefit.”