Central England Co-operative has changed its name to Central Co-op, as it announces a rebrand which reflects the “development and expansion” which has seen sales approach the £1bn milestone.
The society says the name change will be followed by the rollout of “new, modern and fresh branding” which uses the International Co-operative Alliance’s global marque – already adopted by UK co-ops including Scotmid, Midcounties, Co-operatives UK, Co-op Credit Union and Co-op News.
CEO Debbie Robinson said: “We’re continuing our journey as we set our society up for future success. We’ve adopted the globally recognised marque of co-operation to show our solidarity with the wider co-operative movement as part of our society-wide rebrand.
“Key to all of this is a refresh of our identity – we want to be modern, warm, relevant and inclusive so we can welcome the next generation of co-operators to our society.
“As we look to the future with our purpose in mind of `creating a sustainable society for all`, we continue to invest in our society and have explored a number of options. Following extensive research with members and customers we’ve taken the decision to update our identity and name.”
The rebrand rollout across will take place as part of the society’s regeneration plan for its 400 plus trading sites across funeral homes and food stores.
In the last 18 months it has opened nine new stores, and regenerated 63 of its existing estate. Central Co-op’s upcoming new openings in Eastham (4 November) and Sawbridgeworth (11 November) will be the first of its food stores to receive the new look branding.
Related: Co-operative International Trading Development Fund
The first look at the new brand will be at Kettering funeral home in Northamptonshire, which has recently been regenerated as part of a larger funeral transformation project which includes its Bretby crematorium in Staffordshire.
Central says the rebrand complements its campaigns on the value and the benefits of co-operative membership, including “Shop locally, for less”, launched this year to highlight the value of supporting local community stores.
Last week, the co-op added a member discount to the campaign, which applies to more than 50 everyday essential products. It says members can save £22 on the products included in the offer, including cheese, tea bags, eggs and pasta sauce. Some items have been cut by as much as 43%, with a four-pint milk carton brought down to £1.50.
Chief member and customer officer, Rajesh Gupta, said: “We’re always looking for ways to give back to our members. These offers on essential products are part of our aim to support members in our communities this winter, and we’re pleased to be able to offer these prices when they are needed the most.”
Other recent initiatives include the launch of the Co-operative International Trading Development Fund in July, aimed at helping the poorest communities in the world out of poverty; the opening of three community sustainable spaces in 2022, in Dodworth, Desborough and Yaxley, with more planned for the future; and the introduction of photovoltaic energy generation across 60 of its trading sites.
Partnerships include Insomnia, which operates a coffee franchise café in Central’s Blaby store in Leicestershire; and delivery services with Just Eat and Snappy Shopper.
Central says the rebrand alse sees investment in its 7,700 colleagues, with the launch of its new cultural framework, We are the difference makers, a framework shaped by input from over 1,000 of its staff.
The society recently announced an increase in pay for colleagues in frontline positions, across its retail, funeral and support centre functions. It says the increase of 30p per hour takes basic pay to £10 per hour as well as continuing to provide paid breaks, comparable to a total pay rate of £10.45 per hour.
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