THE Co-operative Group has announced it will roll out the new brand identity to 135 outlets that were already earmarked for refits this year.
This means that 80 food stores and 55 pharmacies will be refitted with "The co-operative" branding by the end of 2006. In addition, when the Co-operative Bank installs a new or replacement cash machine, it will also carry the new identity.
Zoe Morgan, Director of Marketing for the Group, told the News: "This is an important first step for the new brand identity which goes far beyond new signage. The new branding is designed to strengthen the links between the businesses in the eyes of the consumer and underline the advantages of co-operative trading."
Added Ms Morgan: "We also have agreement to begin working on the conversion of our own-label products to the new brand.
"This will form part of the range review that our food business is undertaking at the end of this year."
At the end of the year, the Group businesses will submit their three-year plans to the board and these will include their strategies for the roll-out of the new brand across the entire estate of more than 3,000 outlets.
Meanwhile, Midcounties Society has demonstrated its support for the brand by relaunching its third ?new look' store in Penkridge, Staffordshire. The store ? now known as The co-operative Penkridge ? features the hallmark bright colours, graphics and in-store themes which are part of the brand trial.
Midcounties Co-op CEO Ben Reid commented: "We are delighted to launch a third brand-trial store in our region. Penkridge offers local people a very welcoming store environment that is a pleasure to shop in."
ABOVE: Penkridge manager Tammy Colley outside the store.