Last year we started to trial a Co-op franchise model, to help us find new ways to grow our business and open more Co-ops, more quickly. Franchise means we license our brand to another retailer and support them with service, tools and training to help them grow their business with us.
We’ve worked really hard behind the scenes to build our franchise model the Co-op way and have three franchise stores open already (including Whitkirk, pictured), reporting sales increases of over 50%! Next week we’ll open our fourth store, in Leeds University Students’ Union, which we’re really excited about. Leeds is a shining example of how franchise will help us get Co-op into places where we couldn’t have got to before, and where we can create real value. It’s a great new partnership with the Union; as well as creating employment opportunities for students, it’ll help us really reach out to the younger generation with the quality, value and values that are so important to them.
And we’ve reached a big milestone this week, as we’ve just launched our franchise offer to retailers across the country through our new external recruitment website. It means we’re actively talking to retailers to grow our franchise proposition, finding the right independent retailers in the right locations, and widening the reach of Co-op products.
I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved so far; we’ve created a unique opportunity for independent retailers, who share the Co-op values and principles, to become part of the Co-op community. Together we’ll find new locations that help us to get closer to our customers – bringing our award-winning food to new places, and attracting new customers and members. I’m excited to see how it will help us grow our business for the future.
Head of New Channels
Pictured: Dawn Whitmore, Store Manager of Whitkirk’s Co-op (a Co-op franchise)