Customers can expect to see a major influx of new homeware and electrical lines in Market Town and Welcome stores this year as the Co-operative Group embarks on a radical programme to boost its non food offer. A new Ethel Austin range of children's clothes is also being tested in four trial stores, with a rollout planned in January if the range proves a hit, said head of buying for non food, Simon Musther. "There's a review in July, but early indications are very positive. This has also given us the confidence to look at adult clothing beyond our current limited range of underwear." A new electricals range hits Market Town stores at the end of the month, while CD and DVD players, videos and microwaves will become regular fixtures in store rather than one-off promotional items, said Musther. Luggage items from the Far East are already going into stores, and new gardening ranges and Christmas lines will follow as the benefits of a deal with the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-ops kick in (The Grocer, February 9, p16). The federation represents more than 2,000 co-ops making food, furniture, clothing and household goods. Toasters and kettles will also be trialed in Welcome c-stores later. {{NEWS }}

Topics