Breaking with 170 years of tradition, the supermarket chain will open its first franchised store later this month
From introducing biodegradable bags to launching its own Fairtrade brand, the Co-op has established itself as one of the UK’s most well-known supermarkets by constantly trying new concepts. And now the company, which was founded in 1844, is embarking on the next stage of its journey by launching its first franchised stores.
The new model will be part of a partnership between Co-op and MRH, the service station operator that also owns Kuwait Petroleum GB, Texaco, BP and Esso. Together, the companies plan to pilot seven new convenience stores that will all be franchised. Each will be between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet in size and the first is set to open this week in Eastcote, north-west London.
Commenting on the deal, Jo Whitfield, interim retail chief executive of food at Co-op Group, said that the new franchising model is “an exciting opportunity for the Co-op to expand its presence further in the convenience sector” and that it would enable the company “to test the franchise model and potentially pave the way for further expansion to move the Co-op brand and our own-brand food into new communities”.
And the Co-op isn’t the only supermarket brand to give franchising a go. Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s announced that it’s contemplating offering independent retailers franchise deals to encourage them to join the business and open new outlets.
And now that it’s following in the footsteps of successful franchise brands like McDonald’s and Domino’s, the Co-op could soon be reaping the benefits of franchising too.