The Co-operative Group is to spend £200m rebranding and refitting 1,500 of its outlets by the end of 2008.
Announcing the move, Peter Marks (pictured), Chief Executive of the Co-operative Trading Group billed it as “the biggest modernisation programme in the Group’s history”.
More than half of its 4,500 strong estate of food stores, pharmacies, travel, funeral and bank branches and all its own brand products and packaging will for the first time be unified under the
Co-operative brand by December 2008.
Mr Marks said: “This is a massive undertaking, and one that was only made possible by the merger, in July, between the Co-operative Group and United Co-operatives.
“The combined business now accounts for over 80 per cent of co-operative trade in the UK, for the first time making a brand relaunch a viable proposition.”
Added Mr Marks: “There is far more to a brand identity than just the logo on our own label goods and the fascia outside an outlet. One of the main objectives of the re-branding is to improve the overall brand standards. The inconsistency of our brand has been a major failing for far too long. This modernisation programme will address that.”
Sales at the 115 food stores which were refitted in the first half of 2007 are up 15 per cent compared to a 4.6 per cent increase across the chain as a whole.
As part of the rebranding exercise, last year the Co-operative re-launched its membership scheme and re-introduced its famous share of profit or dividend. Since then the Group has seen the number of active members grow by over 500,000, a 25 per cent increase. From January next year former members of United Co-operatives will receive the same dividend benefits in their stores.