The Co-operative Group appears to have shelved plans to launch an online grocery offer.
Speaking at the release of the society’s interim results last week, CEO Peter Marks said online grocery was “not a priority for us”.
“We are not going into online grocery right now,” he said. “We are investing in technology to improve efficiency in our stores, but not online. Never say never, but it is not a priority for us.”
His comments come a year after head of strategy, insight and planning Helen Bridgett told delegates at an IGD conference that an online offer was “within reach” and that details were being fleshed out.
Marks said the society was less likely to be affected by the growth in online grocery than other retailers because it did not have large stores.
“We see online hitting the big hypermarkets because shoppers bulk buy online,” he said. “But when they run out of fresh items, they shop at convenience stores. There is evidence to suggest this is already happening.”
However, The Co-op Group is not without an online presence entirely. It has an established The Co-operative Electrical website selling non-food items. Last October, the site also started selling bulk-buy household cleaning products.
Meanwhile, Marks said promotions were running at an “unprecedented” 40% versus a normal level of about 25%. “It fits in with the mindset of the consumer at the moment,” he said. “They’re shopping around more, looking for the bargains. I don’t see this changing.”