The Co-op is rapidly accelerating its online expansion to more than double the number of stores planned as it adapts to changing shopper demands caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The same-day service was initially trialled at a London store in March 2019, and by the end of 2019 had rolled out to 23 central London and Manchester hub stores. In parallel, Co-op also developed its online delivery services through partnerships with third party delivery app Deliveroo and “robot” delivery service Starship, allowing customers to shop a range of non-perishable products for delivery within 30 minutes.
This year, Co-op announced that it would continue to expand its delivery services to around 400 stores with Deliveroo, serving 1,169 catchments around the UK including Southampton, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and London. Speaking as it published its annual results last Friday, Co-op Food CEO Jo Whitfield told The Grocer that it expected the actual number of stores to be around 770. Whitfield added that between the Deliveroo partnership and its own shop.coop.co.uk service, the retailer is offering online groceries in 1,000 catchment areas.
“This is an important part of our plan to support shoppers at this time,” said Whitfield, who also explained that its chosen model enabled it to be agile when it came to expansion.
During the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, Co-op have seen an increase in sales growth. Kantar figures for the 12 weeks to 19 April show Co-op overtook Lidl to become the fastest growing retailer as it benefitted from shoppers buying locally.
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