Nisa retailers who run individually branded stores have urged the Co-op to work with them to tailor their offer following Nisa members’ decision to accept a takeover deal.
Last week, members narrowly voted to accept the £143m Co-op takeover which is due to be ratified by the CMA in March next year.
However, family-branded stores, and stores whose competition is Co-op, have expressed concern about how they might retain their point of difference.
Jack Matthews, of Bradley’s Supermarket in Quorn, Leicestershire, said: “My customers are already asking when our Co-op fascia is going up, and there’s a lot of work needed from the Co-op and Nisa to help us keep our branding.”
Mr Matthews said while consumers might not have understood the Nisa brand, they did understand Bradley’s name above the door.
“I have a purpose-built Co-op on the edge of the village. When people come to our store they love the point of difference in products, but my worry is that customers will now see Bradley’s as ‘just another Co-op’,” he said.
Chris Taylor, of Taylors of Tickhill, in Doncaster, said: “I think customers are going to enjoy the Co-op branded products. We’re fortunate in that we don’t have another Co-op for eight miles – Nisa stores with Co-ops closer by may feel differently about the takeover.”
Co-op spokesman Russ Brady said: “It’s early days, but the membership will have a much broader range of products than it had before, which will include Co-op own-brand, a branded range and the Heritage range.
“Retailers will be able to tailor their stores to the needs of their customer bases.”
Mr Brady added that retailers would also enjoy autonomy on price and volume. He also confirmed Co-op had committed to a monitoring group who would try to better understand how to support retailers over the coming months.