Consumer co-operatives have a “once in a generation chance” to move forward together, as retail societies form a successor to the Co-operative Retail Trading Group.
The new federal organisation, which is going through its final stages in being set up, will be owned collectively by independent retail societies and the Co-operative Group. In wake of the Group’s difficulties throughout 2013/2014, the society’s independent members pushed for CRTG to be reformed.
Federal Trading Services will be collectively owned by retail societies, who are currently a part of CRTG, which will include widespread buying power for consumer products.
Mark Smith, chief executive of Southern Co-operative, a director of FTS, said: “Independent societies have been evolving how they work together while retaining their independence since the beginnings of the retail consumer movement. During 2014, major changes were made to the way in which these relationships will be overseen and governed that will have significant implications for all societies.
“There was much to be concerned about in the crisis that hit the Co-operative Group in 2013, but as part of fixing those problems has come genuine opportunity to secure mutual benefit for all from a new fit for purpose federal relationship that provides a once in a generation chance to move us all forward together.”
Mr Smith will be delivering a speech on how the independent societies have worked together over the past year at the National Retail Consumer Conference in February. He added: “Given the market conditions we all face, we have to make this work and no one can afford not to be fully up to speed on these important strategic developments that will impact us all.”
The event, organised by Co-operatives UK, is themed Retailing at a Time of Change, and will also hear from James Walton, chief economist at IGD Retail Analysis, and Vicki Hird, Friends of the Earth senior campaigner.
- To find out more the event, which takes place in Stratford-Upon-Avon from 27 February–1 March, visit: www.uk.coop/nrcc