Co-op publishes innovation plans

The Co-op’s latest financial results have detailed plans for the future, including a pilot to move payments away from supermarket checkouts.

As part of the group’s ‘Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities’ plan, the ‘pay in the aisles’ test is being carried out in the Co-op’s support centre in Manchester, with wider roll-out is slated for this summer.

The plan also includes the acquisition of wholesaler and convenience retailer Nisa Retail for up to £137.5 million - subject to regulatory approval - and an agreement to become the exclusive wholesale supplier to Costcutter.

Elsewhere in the results, the Co-op announced a new ventures programme, which is currently looking at initiatives in the health and money sectors.

“Ventures to be supported and enabled by existing digital and supply chain capabilities, seeing the Co-op creating a digital member platform, with new services and products that create social and commercial value,” the company stated.

Co-op’s profit before tax was £72 million – up from a £132 million loss in 2016, which reflects the write down of a stake in Co-operative Bank. However, operating profit of £126 million was down from £148 million in 2016.

The group’s debt reduced to £775 million - from £885 million in 2016 - with the outlook suggesting debt will remain within guidance levels of £900 million.

Allan Leighton, independent non-executive chair of the Co-op, said: “It is vital that our Co-op continues to innovate and be relevant to meet the changing needs of our stakeholders. The plans we have in place to do this are rightly challenging.”

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