Tony Hind is Head of Acquisitions and New Developments. His team’s job is to help us serve more communities by opening new Co-ops up and down the country. We caught up with Tony on a record-breaking year for the team and why investing in new stores and funeral homes is still really important for the future of our business.
Getting more people to try our fantastic products and services is a really important part of our Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities ambition. One of the ways we’re doing this is by opening new Co-ops in communities across the UK.
This year, we’re investing over £160 million in 100 new store and 150 refits. Our new shops will create around 1,600 new jobs for local people and will offer delicious food, right round the corner from where our customers and members live and work.
This is actually the third year in a row that we’ve opened 100 new stores, and we’re going to do it all again over the next few years. The convenience market continues to grow, so we need to grow with it. Opening new shops is a really important part of our plan to become the number one convenience retailer in the country.
Funeralcare is growing too. We’ve opened 33 new or refitted funeral homes so far this year and around half of our estate is now in the new brand.
Choosing the right locations
2018 has been the strongest year we’ve ever had in terms of growing our food estate. We’ve opened 52 new stores and 73 refits so far, so are well on our way to meeting our target. Although we’ve got big plans for the whole country, London and the South East are important focus areas for us as that’s where the biggest potential for growth is. We’ve opened 13 new stores in the capital this year, with 17 still to go before the year is out.
We’ve spent a lot of time making sure we put the right stores, with the right products, in the right locations. Good sites are normally in highly populated areas, visible from the road and close to schools, transport hubs or other shops. We’ve crunched a lot of data and have now identified over 2,000 locations across the country that could benefit from a new Co-op food store.
The stores we opened last year made on average 15% more than the ones we opened in 2012, so that’s proof that what we’re doing is working. We continuously monitor how our new stores are doing and it makes me so proud to see all of our hard work paying off.
Getting closer to communities
Clarence Street’s Co-op York opened in March. It’s special because it was opened by the member who suggested the location to us. That, along with the recent refit at Danger Point’s Co-op, are just two examples of how we’re there for communities, often before the store’s doors are even open.