Conference to explore the ‘co-operative way’ of winning customers

Representatives from co-operative retail businesses are set to discuss the "co-operative way" of winning business.

Representatives from co-operative retail businesses are set to discuss the "co-operative way" of winning business.

The National Retail Consumer Conference, organised by Co-operatives UK, will be held in Solihull next month (21st-23rd February) where Steve Murrells, chief executive of retail at the Co-operative Group, will be a keynote speaker, giving insight on changes in the Group's food business over the past 12 months.

Other speakers include Johnston Birchall, a co-operative governance expert and Professor of Social Policy at Stirling University; Siôn Whellens from design and printing co-operative Calverts, which developed the international COOP marque; and James Walton, Chief Executive of IDG Retail Analysis, which helps businesses anticipate and respond to the consequences of unprecedented economic pressures, political change and environmental stress.

This year, the annual event will focus on the challenges faced by the retail sector, such as changing consumer behavior, the growth of discounters, food provenance and supply chain. The conference will also look at the social and economic implications of food and health policies. Delegates will discuss how to assert the co-operative difference, winning customers and ensuring their continued loyalty.

Ed Mayo, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: “The National Retail Consumer Conference is a unique opportunity for co-operative retailers to reflect on what makes them distinct and successful. The conference will address strategies for growth, how the sector can attract new customers and encourage more people to make the co-operative choice.

“Co-operation brings real business benefits in difficult retail conditions. This annual event is a fantastic forum for sharing ideas and expertise, after all, being co-operative is what marks us out from other retailers on the high street.”

• Delegates can book their place online, with prices starting at £185 for members of Co-operatives UK. For details visit

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