Co-op’s move to incorporate local suppliers into its convenience stores is not a threat to independents, retailers have told RN.

The Co-op is to create tailored local offerings in all of its 2,500 stores as part of a revamp of its total range in conjunction with the JDA Software Group.

However Harris Aslam, director of Eros Retail, believes independents need to stay one step ahead, not just selling local strawberries but also displaying the mileage of where the supplier is located, for example.

Mr Aslam also believes independents can build a mutually beneficial partnership with local suppliers – something the multiples can’t do.

Christine Hope, of Hopes of Longtown in Herefordshire, said the news shows there is market demand for local products which independents can benefit from.