Co-op recruits Asda Wal-Mart executive

The Co-operative Group has appointed Pauline Brophy to the new role of head of marketing for specialist retail brands. She will initially focus on the Co-op’s funeral business.

Brophy, who was previously marketing manager for general merchandise at Asda Wal-Mart, will handle marketing for the group’s travel, funeral and optical divisions.

Reporting directly to Yvonne Rankin, general manager of specialist retail brands, Brophy will oversee a &£6m annual marketing budget.

Before joining Asda, Brophy worked in brand development roles at Kellogg and Mars.

Last month the Co-operative Group’s Funeral Service announced that it is investing &£1m in testing Funeralcare, a new concept which aims to move away from the gloomy image of traditional funeral parlours.

The company hired design consultancy Astound to develop a trial site in Hayes, Middlesex. The parlour incorporates pastel colours and a selection room selling remembrance items such as bird tables and cricket bats and sympathy cards.

The pilot site followed research by the Co-op which showed that one in three people want funeral homes to be less sombre.

The Co-operative Group, founded in 1863, is the largest retail co-operative in Europe: it has 500,000 members and an annual turnover of more than &£5bn.

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