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Co-Operative to plunge millions into logistics

By: David Howells
30 March 2011

The logistics business is set to boom as the Co-Operative has pledged to invest £70 million into its food logistics network.

The move heralded the last phase of a revamp that saw the food supplier take over Somerfield in 2009.

Improving its logistics work has long been part of the Co-Operative's big drive; and has seen the company open a series of new centres all around the UK - including new distribution hubs in County Durham, Essex and Merseyside.

Centres are also being built at Newhouse in Scotland and Andover in Hampshire.

Yet despite all these recent additions, the Co-Operative's logistical growth has shown no signs of slowing. It was granted planning permission in January for a new regional distribution centre in the North Midlands, and then another again in March for a 435,750sq ft distribution centre in Avonmouth. 

Co-Op chief Peter Marks told Logistics Manager of the growth the business has seen in recent years and what it meant for their future.

"The past year caps what has been a truly remarkable and exhilarating period for the group, marking the completion of our three-year business plan following the merger of the group and United Co-Operatives in 2007," he said.

"We have achieved our success due to continued investment in our store and branch estates and in our brand, our products and our service."

Even during a time of economic uncertainty, the Co-Op reported good figures; with strong food market growth as well as a continued dedication to Fairtrade products, despite the financial climate.

The UK is facing "a long, slow climb out of the recession," Marks told Marketing Week; but the business was in a good shape to "make the most of opportunities" available.

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