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The aim for suppliers was to have just one relationship with the business, said Nisa CEO Ken Towle

The Co-op is bringing its commercial team together with that of Nisa to help simplify its supplier relations and deliver better prices for Nisa retailers.

Speaking at last week’s IGD Convenience Retailing Summit, Nisa CEO Ken Towle said that aligning the two businesses commercial teams was the next key strategic move following the completion of the Co-op’s £137.5m takeover of Nisa in May.

“One of the reasons the Co-op wanted to acquire Nisa was to add new capabilities, new experience and new ways to expand the business,” he said. “It didn’t buy Nisa to subsume it.”

However he said that “in order to go faster and do things better there are teams of people that we need to bring together and the teams we think are most significant to bring together are the commercial teams”.

“We think that by combining the knowledge and experience that exists in the retail business of Co-op and wholesale business of Nisa, we can bring together complementary skills that allow us to do the right thing for our customers but also work better with our stakeholders, principally our suppliers,” he added.

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Towle added the aim for suppliers was to have just one relationship with the business.

The planning for the alignment has been going on since the deal was completed in May and Towle said that it had created process maps and organisation charts for the move. “What we’ve got to move into now is discussions with people about how they fit into all of this and how their future is going to be assured by this new way of working,” he added.

The changes would initially be on a pilot basis, he explained. However he said Nisa was committed to it because “we know it is fundamental to ultimately doing a better job for our customers, organising ourselves and making us simpler to work with”.