As The Grocer reported on Friday, The Co-operative Group is finally going online.
The society’s head of retail Steve Murrells revealed online trials would kick off later this year, exploring a number of formats including click & collect and home delivery. As he succinctly put it: “Technology is coming to The Co-op, and I think it couldn’t come quickly enough.”
Watch the video: Euan Sutherland on The Co-op’s half-year results
It’s a big story, and one that has been much anticipated, but it’s also important to remember the move is just a small part of an all-encompassing food strategy by Murrells and his team to turn around the fortunes of the business.
The Co-op has left no stone unturned and will be overhauling everything from range, availability and how it connects with younger shoppers, right through to its major sticking point – value for money.
As The Grocer revealed earlier this month, there will be a complete overhaul of its mid-tier own-label range to the new name Loved By Us. ‘Hero’ departments will also be created, such as wine, and there will also be a much bigger emphasis on fresh food.
Taken together, it’s a massive task for Murrells and his new-look management team. And one he knows will take time: “This is a big supertanker to move and we have to reconnect with shoppers in many areas. I’m confident the plan that we’ve got is well supported and will resonate with customers.”
The Co-op has enjoyed a few days where its food business has taken centre stage, but on Thursday all eyes will turn to its banking business when the society releases its half-year results. The numbers aren’t expected to be pretty and are likely to include costs associated with its failed takeover of 632 Lloyds Bank branches, and further details on its £1.5bn capital shortfall.
Banking woes will quite rightly take centre stage this week, but it’s the food business, or the “engine room” of The Co-op Group as Murrells describes it, where the most exciting developments will be taking place over the next two to three years.