Heart of England Co-op prides itself on the support it gives the area managers of its food stores. George Flower, general manager of its food division, says: “At a time when other major retailers are cutting back on their senior management teams, we decided to invest in an additional area manager.”

The society now has three area managers looking after 11 stores each, with Flower’s deputy Peter Fletcher looking after its three largest stores. “This allows us to spend quality time with our store managers,” says Flower.

The five-strong senior management team consists of Flower, his deputy Peter Fletcher and area managers Nick Dunn, Robert Mutch and Greg Dockery. Flower has been a store manager and an area manager within the Co-op movement. He has also been a store manager for Safeway.

Fletcher worked his way up through the Co-op movement, becoming deputy general manager in 2002.

Dunn looks after Coventry. He was previously a T&S area manager and before that a Safeway fresh food controller.

Mutch looks after Nuneaton and Hinckley. He was an area manager for CJ Lang before joining in 2002. Prior to that he was an Iceland store manager.

Greg Dockery moved from c-store chain Balfour, where he was a store manager, six months ago. Before that he was a store manager for Somerfield and Alldays. He looks after Rugby.

Flower believes the varied backgrounds of the team will help the society resist the multiples.

investing in quality management time