The Co-operative Group could return to using its old Co-op identity for its shops and products after recently trademarking a number of new logos - including one that is highly reminiscent of the group’s iconic square Co-op branding.
Such a move would be in keeping with current CEO Richard Pennycook’s current turnaround strategy for the business, in which he is looking back to the group’s history to distinguish it from its more corporate rivals.
The group registered three logos with the Intellectual Property Office last month. As well as the familiar looking square logo, there were two other versions of the word Co-op, one against what appears to be a sheaf of wheat while the other uses a font akin to a classic 1970s Pepsi logo.
Earlier this year, the group trademarked the word Pioneer, which links to its founders the Rochdale Pioneers and is also a previous name for its supermarkets.
“We continue to make good progress in rebuilding The Co-op. In registering these three potential brand identities we are simply exploring possible options for the future that align with our heritage,” said a spokesman for The Co-operative Group.
Having steadied the ship since the business almost collapsed two years ago, Pennycook is now in the rebuild stage of the turnaround. In a recent interview with The Guardian he said: “We need to get back to being brave and different.”
A significant part of this plan has been the refitting of its stores to include a better focus on fresh food. This week the retailer completed its 250th refit of the year with a store in Rochdale. It plans to complete a further 150 refits next year.
“The Co-operative Food has a clear and exciting vision, which is to establish itself as the number one convenience store operator, and the acquisitions and refit programme is fundamental to our success,” said David Roberts, The Co-operative Food director of estates services.
“[The refit of] 250 stores and over 100 new stores opened in 2015 represents a £90m capital investment: the biggest investment programme in food retail this year.”
This week The Co-op also launched its new Christmas ad campaign, which encourages shoppers to surprise someone with an act of kindness. As with last year, the push emphasises the retailer’s convenience credentials. With the tagline ‘discover a little more this Christmas’, the TV ad features a young man leaving Christmas goodies outside the home of an elderly neighbour.