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Costcutter's new supply deal with Co-op has now been rolled out to all stores in its network, putting an end to over six months of contingency arrangements, in the wake of the collapse of former distribution partner Palmer & Harvey.  The turbulence of the last year saw some 400 stores leave the symbol group, leaving the total number in the network at 1,776 at the end of 2017.  However, it has continued to recruit successfully with some 100 stores joining over recent months.

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Nisa retailers are now able to place orders for Co-op’s range of own label products. The range will gradually be made available to independent stores over the next few weeks.

Phased roll-out

Co-op will make the own label range available in four phases:

  1. The first 49 products can be ordered from next week
  2. Another 350 from mid-July
  3. A further 350 in September
  4. The final products in November, bringing the total to 800 products

Products in the first phase include those from key snacking and ready meal categories such as Co-op’s own label pizzas, soft drinks, crisps, snacks and biscuits.  Retailers were given details of which products where being made available during each phase at recent Nisa Roadshows and are working with Nisa to plan which products suit their stores.

Co-op moving quickly to develop potential of Nisa takeover

The CMA gave the go-ahead for Co-op's takeover of Nisa in April this year.  In May, on the day the deal was given final legal recognition, Co-op annonced the appointment of former Tesco senior executive Ken Towle  as Chief Executive of the Nisa subsidiary with immediate effect.

At the time of the announcement, Jo Whitfield, Co-op Retail CEO said the partnership between the two companies would allow Nisa retailers to access "award-winning Co-op own brand products...benefitting from competitive prices and promotions".  Just six weeks later, the rollout of the initial batch of Co-op own label products marks the first step in the activation of this plan, demonstrating that Co-op want to move quickly to realise the potential of their move into the convenience wholesale market.

Nisa at IGD Convenience Retailing Summit 2018

As Nisa enters a critical new phase in its evolution, Ken Towle, the new CEO, will share how the relationship with Co-op will bring new standards and best practice disciplines to 3,000 independent stores.


IGD Convenience Retailing Summit 2018


26-27 September, London


Convenience continues to outpace big store formats. This year we have launched a two-day event to help you explore every opportunity, possibility and future trend to boost your business.

Find out more »

John Lewis Partnership issues a profit warning and unveils strategy for the coming years.

H1: a disappointing result and next steps for the business

John Lewis Partnership, which owns John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, has announced that profits for the first half will be “close to zero”.

Future strategy will focus on three key areas: differentiation over scale, maintaining investment and placing its partners at the heart of the business.

Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield commented on the plans “The measures that we have outlined today are an important next step in our strategy that will ensure we emerge stronger from this period of profound change.”

Differentiation over scale: store closures

Future strategy will aim to create differentiation through innovation as opposed to scale.

Waitrose will focus more on its private label range and focus on building its range of exclusive products.

The retailer aims to boost its health credentials, a strategy we can already see emerging with its Bupa partnership and in-store nutritionist trial.

Waitrose currently operates 353 stores across the UK but is set to set to close four of its convenience stores and one supermarket, creating opportunity to invest in other areas of the business.

The branches that are set to close are located in Manchester, London and Birmingham. Four of these stores are set to be taken over by the Co-op and Aldi is taking on a site in Camden.  

The partnership will instead look to provide a point of difference through enhanced focus on providing a stand-out in-store experience for its shoppers.

Maintaining investment

The partnership has emphasised that its transformation strategy requires maintained investment.

The partnership announced its aim of strengthening the balance sheet by £500m over three years to allow for investment in product and service innovation.

Value from property estate, a reviewed of the partner pension scheme and rebuilt profitability at Waitrose will help to drive this.

These steps will allow the partnership to maintain investment at a rate of £400m - £500m a year.

Partners at the heart

JLP will continue to invest in its partners, claiming that its partnership model provides a key point of difference within the industry.

As a result, the partnership will rebrand the two parts of is business to be ‘Waitrose & Partners’ and ‘John Lewis & Partners’ from September 2018.


Want to know more?

Retail analysis subscribers can read more about Waitrose’s strategic outlook here.

Costcutter founder Colin Graves has joined the Co-op as an advisor on its wholesale and franchise development plans.

Chair of new Wholesale and Franchise Advisory Board

Graves will chair Co-op’s new Wholesale and Franchise Advisory Board.  The board was created following the Co-op’s £137.5m takeover of Nisa which completed last month, and the start of its wholesale supply agreement with Graves’ former business, Costcutter.

Wholesaling and franchising a focus for Co-op

Wholesaling and franchising have been identified as big opportunities by Co-op’s food business, helping it to grow sales, buy better and spread awareness of the brand into new communities.  The purchase of Nisa and the deal with Costcutter are already evidence of Co-op’s ambitions in this area.  The new board will look to develop these and other relationships further.

Experienced independent retailer

Graves is a well-known figure in independent convenience retail.  He founded Costcutter in 1986 and led the business for almost 30 years until it was sold to its current owners, Bibby Line Group, in 2011.

Costcutter at IGD Convenience Retailing Summit 2018

Sean Russell, Director of Marketing will share insights on the latest thinking on the convenience shopper, and Costcutter's 'Shopper First' programme at this year's must-attend summit, 26 & 27 September.


IGD Convenience Retailing Summit 2018


26-27 September, London


Convenience continues to outpace big store formats. This year we have launched a two-day event to help you explore every opportunity, possibility and future trend to boost your business.

Find out more »


An essential summary of trading priorities, latest developments, and other key commercial insights for Co-op.
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Our comprehensive guide to retailers' strategic priorities and market trends in the UK, and the opportunities they create for suppliers.
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This in-depth guide to the United Kingdom explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

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22 November 2018, Manchester
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