Co-operative retailing has gone mainstream. That was the message from Peter Couchman, chief
executive of the Plunkett Foundation, who addressed The Co-operative Enterprise Hub National
Conference at Manchester’s Midland Hotel.
‘There’s a tendency to think that co-operators read the Guardian,’ he said. ‘Now they’re in
Mr Couchman said mainstream national newspapers like the Telegraph and the Daily Mail have
grown to love co-operative stories, as do mainstream television and radio programmes including the
One Show and Jeremy Vine.
‘People are selling the co-operative story to their communities,’ he said. ‘It’s going viral.’
Community shops were ahead of all major retailers except Sainsburys in terms of the number of
outlets they opened in 2011, Mr Couchman reported. And, he added, their increase in sales that year
was five times bigger than any of the big players.