Central England coop

“The role of the convenience retailer should never be underestimated”

Sir, I read with interest the article ‘How co-op pulled itself together’.

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has been in the fortunate position of consistently going against the grain, enjoying a healthy turnover and profit. We are one of the highest-performing societies in the co-operative movement and our latest figures show a healthy 7.2% increase in like-for-like food sales.

The role of the convenience retailer should never be underestimated, and it is for this reason we have always adopted a policy of continuous investment. Indeed, in the past five years alone, we have committed over £16.9m to improving our store portfolio.

As an example, we have reconfigured our stores to focus on fresh and chilled foods rather than ambient, as well as introducing Costa Coffee stations and expanding our food-to-go options. We listen to what our members and customers want and it has paid dividends.

We are not, however, complacent and are committed to ensuring that we live up to our name in providing a service which is at the heart of the local communities we serve.

Ali Kurji, chief executive, Heart of England Co-operative Society