Colin Graves

Graves founded Costcutter in 1986

Costcutter founder Colin Graves has joined the Co-op in an advisory role helping it shape its future wholesale and franchise ambitions.

Convenience veteran Graves, who is also currently chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, is set to chair the Co-op’s new Wholesale and Franchise Advisory Board. He will be joined on the board by Co-op Group CEO Steve Murrells, Co-op Retail CEO Jo Whitfield, newly appointed Nisa CEO Ken Towle, and Co-op chairman Allan Leighton.

The creation of the advisory board follows the Co-op’s £137.5m takeover of Nisa, which completed last month, and the commencement of its supply agreement with Graves’ former business Costcutter.

In a note to Co-op staff, seen by The Grocer, Murrells said wholesaling and franchising were huge opportunities for its food business.

“We’ve made a fantastic start by buying Nisa and with the new contract to supply Costcutter, both of which will grow Co-op and retail partner sales, help us buy better, and get our brand in front of many more communities,” said Murrells.

“But we know there are more exciting opportunities out there to develop these relationships and build new ones in both wholesaling and franchising.”

He described Graves as “a bit of a convenience retail legend having set up Costcutter, which he chaired for nearly 30 years before selling it to its current owners. He’s highly respected in the sector, and having somebody with us who both knows and is known in independent retail will be a big help.”