The retailer said it was ”reviewing where efficiencies can be made across many of our categories”

The Co-op has told suppliers to expect delistings as it trims its range.

A letter sent to suppliers in July, seen this week by The Grocer, revealed the retailer’s plans to “simplify” its range amid the cost of living crisis – and warned some would lose shelf space.

Shopper “habits and choices have been continually changing throughout the pandemic into today and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future,” it read.

The letter added: “One of our key aims is to deliver a simplified, focused range across all of our stores, and as part of this we’re looking at reducing our product range to meet these requirements.”

The retailer wanted to “drive more accurate replenishment and reduce waste while continuing to deliver key needs in a convenient way to our customers, something which we are already working on with the support of many of our suppliers,” it continued.

“In order to meet our targets we are reviewing where efficiencies can be made across many of our categories, ultimately meaning that some products will be delisted as we focus on the key needs of our customers.”

It went “without saying” that the Co-op would “carry out our review and any delist processes with reasonable notice and will be touch if any changes affect you,” it added.

The Co-op currently stocks 15,000 SKUs, with a 79/21 split between brands and own label. 

In its annual range review, the Co-op said it expects this year’s to be focused on the cost of living crisis and inflationary pressures.

A Co-op spokeswoman said: “As a convenience retailer, we have less shelf space than larger supermarkets so continue to adapt to changing consumer behaviour and consistently review our product offering. But we continue to develop and launch new and exciting products, to ensure our range meets the needs and demands of our customers.”

However, one supplier source told The Grocer they had found it increasingly difficult to contact buyers over the past few months. The level of engagement from the retailer had been “immensely disappointing”, they said.

It comes amid further cost cutting announced by the Co-op, with 400 jobs on the block – largely from its company support centre in Manchester on Angel Square – as well as closing open vacancies, in a restructure designed to tackle what it called a “tough trading environment”. However there will be no changes to roles in its food stores or funeral homes.

An internal communication from new CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq, seen by The Grocer last week, linked the move to plans to cut spending on change and transformation projects in 2023 by £47m

Co-op-owned Nisa, too, has recently began consulting on redundancies in a bid to lower costs, with some 50 jobs understood to be at risk at the convenience retailer’s head office.