UK Co-Operative Group Unveils Revamp

31 August 2006

MANCHESTER: The UK's Co-Operative Group, which includes a disparate jumble of supermarkets, funeral homes and financial services, is breathing new life into its 'divi' system as part of a £100 million ($190m; £148m) rebrand to give its businesses a uniform identity.

The revamp will include pastel-coloured fascias and a clean new Co-operative logo. The loyalty scheme will reward members with a share of profits twice a year, depending on how much they spend across the group's many services.

Previously divi (dividend) payments were made only to customers of its 1,700 grocery stores, an anachronism in the face of rival loyalty promotions.

The Co-op, which has an £8 billion yearly turnover, was founded in 19th century Lancashire and has a historic commitment to social causes, healthy eating and environmental care - principles it still holds dear.

In the years immediately after World War II its stores dominated British retailing with a 25% share of the grocery market. That has since dwindled to just 6%, compared to market leader Tesco's 31.6%.

The group, however, remains the country's biggest commercial farmer and its largest undertaker, while the Co-op's investment arm CIS has carved itself a successful niche as an ethical shareholder.

Comments ceo Martin Beaumont: "We are owned by our customer members. This way we will be returning a share of our profits to the people who trade with us rather than to a group of distant shareholders."

Data sourced from Brand Republic (UK); additional content by WARC staff