By Adnan Naqvi, Franchise Operations Lead
This time last year we were celebrating a huge achievement for our franchise team – opening our first university franchise store at Leeds University Union. On opening day there was such an incredible buzz – we were welcomed with open arms and left in no doubt that a Co-op was just what the student population needed. The union already had a convenience store, but the team were keen to develop and upgrade their offer, and when it came to choosing a franchising partner, Co-op was right at the top of their list for our ethics, quality, range and service.
Since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength, serving nearly a million transactions, and boosting the store’s sales by well over 60%! Our values and our way of doing business both chime well with the younger demographic, and our proposition in-store – from our refillable water station to our Fairtrade credentials – has been a perfect fit to meet their needs on campus. In particular, the success of GRO, our new plant-based range, has been overwhelming at Leeds – it’s the number one performing store on these lines and the students love it! Our other three university stores are also in the top 10 for GRO sales.
As our first university franchise, Leeds was a vital step in extending our reach into new locations and new communities. Its success has paved the way for three more on sites at Kent and Newcastle universities, and for our landmark, exclusive franchise deal with the NUS which will see us reach out to even more student populations over the coming years.
The agility and capability of our franchise operation means we can reach into sites like these to unlock incredible potential for the growth of our business, and for a new generation of Co-op customers. There’s a lot to be proud of, but none of it would have been possible without the teams working together across Co-op, NUS and our franchise partner colleagues in the store. Everybody has embraced the opportunity and wanted to make it a success. Thanks to everyone across Co-op who has helped us reach new markets, customers and members and grow our business in a capital light way.
It’s all been about collaboration and co-operation – forging relationships with partners who share our values and principles and reaching the next generation of customers and members. You can find out more in this video. We’re excited to see what the next year brings!