The Co-operative Food Birley Fields Campus Hulme Manchester

People’s shopping habits have changed – half of us no longer do a big weekly shop, the average basket size is three or four items and nearly a third of us decide what we’re going to have for dinner on the day itself, rather than planning in advance. Our business is growing to respond to this shift in consumer behaviour – we recently announced that we’d opened 110 stores over a 12 month period, investing millions of pounds and creating over 2,200 new jobs for local people.

As a community retailer that has been at the heart of local high streets for over 150 years, our shops are instantly recognisable. What people don’t often see though is all the work it takes to get a store up and running – from scouting the right location to negotiating the sale, securing planning permission and undertaking all the building work – it can sometimes take a long time to go through the entire process. If our store colleagues are the stars of the show, the Food Property team is the back stage crew. You’ll rarely see us, but without our hard work the show wouldn’t happen.

Re-opening of the Co-Op store on Birley Fields Campus. Hulme, Manchester.A big part of why we do what we do is to have a positive impact on communities – over half of our colleagues live less than a mile from where they work and our 600 in-store Community Pioneers support initiatives that matter to local people.

So, what does 2016 look like? Well, we still have to get another 20 or so stores open before the end of the year, bringing our 2015 investment total to around £90m. Next year we’re setting our sights higher – we want to open over 100 new shops, an ambitious target that will see us bring our unique brand of community retailing to thousands of people up and down the country.

We’re always on the lookout for sites. Members who suggest a site that results in the opening of a new store will receive £500 in Co-op vouchers. More information is available on the suggest a site webpage: http://www.co-operative.coop/membership/local-communities/suggest-a-site

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