Today I’m sharing with you our new five-year plan – ‘Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities’.
Note: We know you can’t view videos in store – please search for Co-op Colleagues on YouTube or read the transcript.
We’re going to grow Co-op and make the communities we serve great places to live. We’re standing tall again, proud of who we are and ambitious for our future.
This is the start of a new golden age for Co-op and the whole co-operative movement in the UK. People are crying out for us. Our plan gives us a growth agenda which is bold and brave, but doable – with your support.
We’ve made incredible progress over the last few years. We’ve fixed many parts of our organisation. Membership’s back at the heart of our thinking. We’ve re-branded. And we’ve restored pride in Co-op for our colleagues and members.
Over the last few weeks, our brand has been at the centre of lots of media stories – from modern slavery and loneliness to our amazing performance over Christmas. We’re back and we’re relevant.
We all know there’s important operational things we still need to fix – and we’ll do that – but we’ve got to a place where we can think big again.
We need to be competitive and innovative. We need to invest more in the businesses we have now. And we need to open up new opportunities where Co-op can make a difference. Our five year plan includes all of this, and more.
Closing the Co-op circle
A great Co-op is a commercially successful business that creates real value for its members. And the more successful we are, the more value we can create.
Our Co-op rewards, the thousands of community causes we support, our campaigning on things that matter to our members, our Academy schools and apprenticeships, the great products and services we sell, all create Co-op value.
But at the moment, there’s a gap in the circle. Our Co-op difference still isn’t cutting through in the way we need it to. The more members and customers can see our difference, the more they’ll choose Co-op. We’re going to close the gap.
From today, we’re going to be ‘One Co-op’ – in how we think, act and talk. No more ‘Group’ and ‘business units’. No more ‘them’ and ‘us’. No more duplication in how we do things – we’ll do things once and do them well.
We’ve created a new smaller group of Co-op leaders who’ll be responsible for making our Co-op plan happen. They’ll be able to make decisions quickly so we can respond in our fast changing markets.
Fuel for growth
We need to invest to grow, so our businesses have the fuel they need to succeed. That means becoming much more efficient and agile in how we work – taking cost out of every part of our business.
We’re going to do this in three ways: changing how we’re organised, better procurement of goods not for resale, and by creating the new Co-op Service Centre that will support all of our businesses.
Logic and magic
Much of what we’re planning is just good business logic. The magic is how we’ll support our communities.
In Food we’ll succeed by getting closer to our customers – where they are, what they need, what they care about. We’re investing hard in cutting prices, starting with a £50m investment last week and there’s more to come. We’re going to carry on opening new stores, using technology to make shopping even more convenient. And Costcutter and Nisa (once we’ve got regulatory approval) will mean we can reach even more people.
In Funeralcare we’re the market leader, but we want to lead the market. We’re keeping a strong focus on making things affordable, investing £50m over the life of this plan to hold prices at current levels. We’re doing some really innovative things with the packages we offer to meet changing consumer demands, and we’re investing in outstanding facilities. Our new digital systems will set a global benchmark, and allow colleagues to spend more time caring for families.
Life Planning & Legal is now fully joined with our Funerals business, so we can provide a joined-up service to our members and clients. Our funeral plans are already award-winning, highly competitive and uniquely Co-op. We’re going to focus on growing our market share in Probate, offering help to bereaved families 24/7 online, over the phone and face-to-face. We’ll partner with others so we can offer a wider range of products to more people.
Insurance is back on its feet and we’re going to make big improvements to our competitiveness and expand our product range. We want to meet more of the insurance needs of our members. Our new ground-breaking Travel insurance – launched this weekend – is an example of how we’ll to do that. We’ve developed a unique product by listening to what our members need and working with a partner.
We want our Digital team to keep strengthening our existing businesses, but we also want them to start exploring new businesses. So we’re setting up ‘Co-op Ventures’.
Ventures will be where we do the thinking, testing and development of new ideas.
We’ll focus on opportunities to grow that don’t need a lot of investment up front. We’ll generate ideas and test them out so we know they make good commercial sense, as well as creating value for our members and their communities. Watch this space.
As always, you – our colleagues – are central to everything we do. I know it’s been tough at times, but without your dedication we wouldn’t be where we are now.
We want you to get the recognition you deserve, so we’re improving the pay of our front-line colleagues in stores. Starting now. Monthly double discount is back. And we’re going to be introducing some great initiatives to support colleague health and financial wellbeing.
We’ve just launched our first all Co-op colleague awards to say thank you to those brilliant colleagues who really bring Being Co-op to life. Please get nominating at coop.co.uk/thankyou.
Here’s to a Stronger Co-op and Stronger Communities!