Co-op invests £125m in fruit and veg price war

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The Co-operative has pledged £125m to slashing the price of fruit and vegetables in its supermarkets across the UK in an attempt to increase its share of the retail sector.

The supermarket announced that it was ramping up efforts in the war to become Britain’s number one convenience store, saying that the £125m being coughed up was the biggest price investment by any convenience retailer.

The move is being seen as part of a strategy to move away from the supermarket retail sector and move toward providing more competitive convenience stores in neighbourhoods. Supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons are also investing heavily in their convenience store sector in a bid to fight off competition from discount supermarket chains such as Aldi and Lidl.

Co-operative retail chief executive Steve Murrells said, “Consumers are shopping differently, buying little, more frequently and, increasingly swapping the weekly shop for purchasing what they need, when they need it.”

“Food retailing remains highly competitive and we have responded to provide customers with great prices and fresh, quality produce at each of our stores. This makes our price investment the biggest by a convenience retailer, providing consumers across the length and breadth of the UK with lower priced produce and helping them to keep shopping in their neighbourhood.”

The Co-operative Group managed to bounce back from the brink of collapse when it sold off its pharmacies and farmland, combined with a growth within its grocery store sector.

It recently moved away from its larger stores – selling off 37 in total – in order to concentrate on convenience store improvement. It now has 71 superstores and 2,079 convenience stores across the UK.

This year, the group reported pre-tax profits of £124m in the year to January, compared with a loss of £310m in 2013.

Image: Sludgegulper via Flickr

Further reading:

M&S and Waitrose score top marks on animal welfare

Co-operative Group voted most ethical company of past 25 years by Ethical Consumer readers

British shoppers want cheaper fair trade products, survey finds

Sustainability and the worrying consumer-company gap

Supermarket price war threatens ethical shopping