co-operative store

The Co-operative Group has promised to become “more agile and more sophisticated” in the way it presents beer, wine and spirits as it unveiled the first shake-up of its alcohol fixture in three years.

As part of the merchandising overhaul, announced this week, stores would cater to the specific shopping patterns of local customers, rather than offering ranges based on demographics or store size, category manager Simon Cairns told The Grocer.

The Co-op had developed 20 different display models - or ‘clusters’ - based on a ‘customer pull’ model rather than a more traditional ‘supplier push’, he added.

They would be rolled out to stores over the next two weeks, with each branch getting the display that best fits its specific customer base.

“We’ve tried to better understand what our shoppers expect of us, and then tailor ranges in store,” Cairns said.

The Co-op had made use of its membership data “more than we’ve ever done before”, overlaying the figures with market data to create a clear of view of what customers were putting in their baskets in each branch, he added.

This would allow it to move away from simply introducing ranges across stores and then scaling them to suit shelf space - an approach that wasn’t reflective of how customers shopped at different branches, said Cairns.

“We’ve got to be more agile and more sophisticated about understanding shoppers’ needs.”

The initiative had already been applied to five ambient categories, as well as fish and fresh, and would be rolled out further, said Cairns.

He stressed it was not a range reduction exercise. “We’re not trying to reduce the number of SKUs and suppliers.”

The Co-op’s last significant range review on BWS was about three years ago, but saw only relatively minor changes.