The Co-operative Group has appointed a trio of commercial trading heads from its larger rivals.

Ian Martin joins from Asda as head of commercial trading for beers, wines and spirits, tobacco and frozen food. He started out as a store manager at Asda before holding a number of category director positions.

Also joining from Asda is CJ Antal Smith, who will head the society’s core, impulse and non-edible grocery categories. Smith, currently category trading director for emerging markets, takes up her new role in February next year.

Matt Hood, meanwhile, comes on board next month as head of commercial trading for dairy, chilled prepared food and protein. He was group food sourcing director at Tesco.

They will join Mark Owen and Mike Owen on the existing trading team. Mike Owen continues as head of commercial trading for produce and bakery, but will also take on temporary responsibility for core, impulse and non-edible grocery until Smith joins.

Mark moves up from head of commercial for chilled and frozen to become head of commercial trading for fuel and non-food. He will also lead sales development, promotions, third-party relationships and the Co-operative Retail Trading Group.

The team would work together on the society’s commercial trading strategy to drive sales and improve customer experience, said Co-op Group commercial director Mike Osmond.

The rejig comes just two weeks after The Co-op Group reported a 1.2% slide in like-for-like food sales and a 2.2% drop in total food sales to £3.6bn for the 26 weeks to 30 June. However, the society said it was already trialling a number of new initiatives in 12 stores across the UK that were boosting like-for-like sales by as much as 12.5%.