Petter Batt

Nisa is investing £5m into the pricing of Co-op own brand for its retail partners.

The move marks the first major strategy initiative to be announced by new MD Peter Batt since taking the helm at the Co-op-owned retail group.

Batt told The Grocer his plans would be an “evolution not revolution of the incredible groundwork” already done by former CEO Michael Fletcher, who stepped down last week after just nine months in the role.

He said retailers would begin to see the impact of the investment from next week, with around 1,000 Co-op products coming down in price. This would include the 100 most frequently purchased Co-op items.

As well as the focus on price, Nisa said it would be providing a lot more clarity around the recommended retail price (rrp) of The Co-op lines.

It said all products that use price-marked packs (PMPs) or price flashes would match those in Co-op stores. Meanwhile, the 50 most popular Co-op branded lines would have rrps set 5% higher than in Co-op and the remaining products set at 10% above Co-op store levels.

Nisa also provided new guidance in relation to the profit share on Co-op branded lines. Retailers will receive two-thirds of the available profit, with the other third going to Co-op.

The buying group has been working on the plans for several months, along with other key changes but said tackling own-brand pricing was its key focus.

“Co-op own brand is absolutely key to our offer for independent retailers, more so than ever before as shoppers struggle with the increasing cost of living,” said Batt.

“This investment in the price of more than 1,000 Co-op own label products will support our retailers, ensuring they stay competitive, helping them to drive sales and margin during ever-challenging times.”

Nisa has also curated a 330-strong core essentials range. This is based on sales insight and data and comprises products across all categories in Co-op own brand.

It incorporates Co-op’s standard tier own-brand lines along with three SKUs from the Co-op’s premium own brand tier, Irresistible; Co-op Irresistible Prosecco, Hand cooked Sea Salt & Chardonnay Wine Vinegar Crisps and Wood Fired Margherita Pizza.

Co-op brand planning and communications manager Jonny Lambert said: “The intention of the Core Essentials range is to provide independent retailers with a comprehensive list of recommended products they should consider stocking to ensure they have a strong, basic own brand offer for their shoppers. 

“The Core Essentials collection is made up of up key convenience lines that we believe are most important in the customer offer.”

In addition to the recommended Core Essentials range are two bolt-on packages, one focusing on value, comprising 52 lines from the Co-op Honest Value range, and the other on premium, with 70 Irresistible products included.

In July, Fletcher made a series of pledges to Nisa retailers aimed at encouraging them to be more loyal in terms of their buying behaviours.

As well as addressing the own-brand pricing issue that some retailers felt left them uncompetitive compared with Co-op own stores, he also set out plans to review its key distribution contract with DHL and to bring the inbound price Nisa pays suppliers for goods in line with the price paid by the Co-op.