The retailer says sales of its “Loved By Us” bread range more than doubled in the four weeks following its launch at the end of April compared with the prior four weeks and total 2.5 million to date. The loaves are featured in the Co-op’s marketing campaign, which focuses on the “importance” of products including bread and eggs.
Sales of bacon are also up by 10 per cent after appearing in the ad campaign.
The relaunched bread range is part of a huge overhaul of the Co-op’s own-brand lines with the aim of improving quality while putting its pricing on a par with rivals in the convenience grocery sector including Tesco and Sainsbury’s. It is already 50 per cent of the way through its revamp programme having introduced 1,750 lines so far in 2014.
Of those, “halo” ranges including pies, sandwiches, pizzas and ready meals have all been relaunched under the “Loved By Us” banner and are seeing double-digit like-for-like sales growth, according to the retailer.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-operative Retail, says: “The Co-operative was historically known for the quality of its own brand produce, and as part our food strategy we are dramatically improving our own brand offer once more. We offer the best value loaf in Britain in terms of price and quality and the sales we have seen show customers are right behind us.”
The own-brand focus is one part of the Co-op’s “True North” strategy, which aims to position its food business as the “leading convenience food retailer” in Britain. It is also investing £100m in price cuts, streamlining promotions and refreshing its stores, as well as planning to open another 100 convenience stores this year.
“The steps we are taking are focused on delivering for our customers and giving them what they want – quality products at great prices in a convenient location. We still have much to do but the customer reaction gives us a great deal of confidence,” adds Murrells.
The Co-op’s food business provided a glimmer of hope in its recent results, posting like-for-like sales growth in the 6 months to 4 January. However, losses across the Co-op Group hit £2.5bn following a “disastrous” 2013 that included scandals at its banking division.
Last month, the Co-op unveiled a new brand purpose, ‘Championing a better way to do business for you and your communities’. The move came as the Group announced its members accepted proposals that will lead to a radical shake-up of its board designed to restore faith in the Co-op.