THE Co-operative Group is launching a new bread and milk promise to help ensure stores never run out of these essential items.
The bread and milk promise, which is being rolled out to around 1,200 selected Co-op Group stores, means that if stores run out of specific bread and milk lines the customer will be entitled to the product ? or a similar one ? free next time.
The service promise reflects the Group's confidence that these products will always be available, but, the society will honour its commitment to customers should stores fail to live up to expectations in terms of supplying these essential items.
If a customer visits the bread or milk fixtures and the product they want is not available, they will be issued with a voucher, to be redeemed within 28 days.
As well as in-store promotional material to promote the initiative, a television commercial will be screened in selected regions for two weeks.
The commercial features Doris, a young female shopper and Ed, a builder. They both rush to grab the last pint of milk and cannot decide who should take it, but finally Doris persuades Ed to take it.
As Ed walks away, Doris punches the air triumphantly knowing that she will get her milk free on her next visit to the Co-op.
A voice-over reiterates the promise: "We're now so sure we'll have selected Co-op milk and bread in store, you'll get it free next time if we don't."
Ged Carter, general manager, marketing for the Co-operative Group, said: "This service promise will turn up the heat on less efficient competitors in the increasingly competitive convenience store market.
"Customers should always be able to purchase bread and milk and it is our responsibility to ensure that these products are always available."
Added Mr Carter: "We are confident that this scheme will help stores to offer customers an improved service so that they never run out of these essentials, but, if they do, we will keep to our promise and give the customers the item for free."
The bread promise refers to Co-op sliced 800g white or wholemeal bread. but where Co-op brand bread is not available, the pledge will apply to Kingsmill bread.
The milk promise includes Co-op Fresh Whole Milk, Semi-Skimmed Milk, Skimmed, Dairygate Fresh Milk, Dale Farm Milk and GT Smith Milk and excludes Co-op Organic Milk and Co-op UHT Milk.
However in Northern Ireland only the Co-op brand breads and milks are included in the promise.