Nisa’s own-label Heritage lines are outperforming lower-margin Co-op own-label products in the fresh category, while the opposite is true in ambient, according to retailers.

Since Co-op’s takeover of Nisa was completed in May, independent retailers have received access to 850 of the multiple’s own-label lines in four stages throughout the year.

Products include a mix of ambient and chilled goods, such as ready meals, pizzas, meat and biscuits. 

However, Ketul Desai, of The General Store (Nisa) in Tufnell Park, told RN margins on some of Co-op’s chilled lines are 22% lower than the Heritage equivalent.

“From a customer perspective, Heritage is seeing much more demand than the Co-op own-label range because they think it tastes better,” he said. 

“Heritage lasts a few days longer as well. You don’t get much time on some Co-op products, such as the ready meals, and this is made worse by the margins. You’re only getting 8% margin on products such as the minced meat and we can’t survive on profit like that alone. 

“My retail development manager has urged me to give it a try, but the brand is not fully fledged.”

Several other Nisa retailers echoed Desai’s concerns, describing the margins on chilled products as not satisfactory. Desai added, however, margins on ambient products such as biscuits and tinned food were more favourable at 30% – higher than on the Heritage equivalents.

The full rollout of Co-op products to Nisa retailers comes as the symbol group’s commercial director, Ayaz Alam, claimed availability for the company overall had increased by 3% because of the merger. 

Nisa CEO Ken Towle told RN at the end of last year that the Heritage range will still be kept available for retailers who prefer it, but the symbol group will put it “under constant review” based on order volumes. 

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