The Co-op is to offer financial services through its network of more than 2,000 convenience stores. This will be the first time that financial services have had a physical presence in the chain’s food outlets.
Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) has already begun introducing cash machines and leaflets at Co-op retail outlets, ahead of the launch of convenience store financial services.
CFS chief executive Mervyn Pedelty is known to be working closely with his food retail colleagues on the plan. A CFS spokesman says: “We are looking at the specifics of providing personal financial services at retail outlets.”
The Co-op chain of convenience stores was augmented last year by the purchase of the 600-strong Alldays chain, which is being converted to the Co-op Welcome format.
CFS markets a full range of financial services products, distinguished by their ethical stance. CFS was created in April 2002 by the merger of Co-op Bank and CIS (Co-operative Insurance Services), with the intention of increasing cross-selling. The bank has high street branches, whereas CIS relies on its home service salesforce of 3,000. Brand consultancy Butterfield 8 is advising CFS on the future of the CIS brand.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s already offer financial services through their food stores, but these are largely telephone- and internet-based.
Last July, the Co-op Group promoted Terry Hudghton to head of corporate brand management (MW July 3, 2003).