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The Co-operative Food: an approach as fresh as their food


A brand new strategy. New ranges. New branding. And of course, new products hitting the shelves all the time. There’s even a new store format that’s set to pave the way for the future of convenience retailing. Things are changing at The Co-operative – fast.

“The new generation of stores is a real talking point with customers,” says Keith Halliwell, Manager at the new store in One Angel Square – The Co-operative’s award-winning support centre in Manchester. “I feel lucky to have joined at such an exciting time. In the past year alone, the pace of change has accelerated in a really positive way.”

As the UK’s leading convenience store retailer, colleagues and customers alike are encouraged to become true advocates of the brand. “That’s one of the great things about being a manager here. If you have an idea, you’ll be listened to,” adds Keith.

One thing is clear: The Co-operative loves food. And it’s this passion for products that’s helping to grow the business – and, in turn, a whole host of career opportunities.

As Keith says, “We’re still on the way, but you’re not going to get a better convenience experience than here. The feel, the freshness, even the merchandising is pioneering.” It’s clear that Keith, and other store managers like him, are proud to be part of The Co-operative story – and what an exciting story it is.

Investing in its people, stores and technology, The Co-operative is empowering today’s shopkeepers to become 21st century leaders. With specialist training and hundreds of stores being significantly developed, it’s easy to see that the business is on the up-and-up…and up.

Transformation is everywhere you look. Naturally, this rapid pace won’t be for everyone, but for driven store managers who are as ambitious as The Co-operative, it’s a huge opportunity to develop their career with a high-profile retailer. Staying true to its ethical roots, The Co-operative goes to great lengths to produce great food, which is why it looks for store managers who go the extra mile, too.

Whether it’s forging community links, the new store format in response to a new generation of consumers or the approach to responsible retail they’ve been proud of since 1844, this is commercially-successful retailing, underpinned by ethical values.

The Co-operative Way

This pioneering approach can even be seen in the store manager development programme – The Co-operative Way – designed to transform managers into true leaders. Gary Chadwick, a store manager in Sherdley, St Helens, shows how it can put a manager’s career into the fast lane. Joining as a customer service assistant, Gary progressed to team leader, then team manager and finally, to the 12-week training programme. “It’s no easy ride,” admits Gary. “But I had lots of support and everyone was so warm and welcoming. It was exciting, and I really felt part of something special.”

Tips for applying

David Parker, The Co-operative Food’s regional stores director for the South East, tells us, “We’re looking for driven people, managers from fast-paced, customer-facing environments. People who will embrace our ethics, immerse themselves in the brand and deliver exceptional results. If you believe in the difference you can make to your local community and team, then at The Co-operative you’ll be equipped, supported and inspired to do just that.

If you’re interested in applying for store management vacancies at The Co-operative Food please visit

Store Manager profile, Upper Shoreham

Kayleigh Logan joined as a part time customer team member to fund her university studies. Supported by inspirational Team Leaders, she began to realise that she could do their role – and was soon doing so! Revelling in being part of the community and having seen how far she could go, she progressed to become a store manager and entered the store manager development programme. Kayleigh loved the difference she could make – so much so that she decided to choose retail management over a career in chemistry when her studies ended.

“One of my highlights was turning round a problem store,” she says. “Customer perception wasn’t great and it was struggling to compete. I worked hard on increasing employee engagement and you can feel how happy the team are now. We’ve increased takings by 20%, as well as a fantastic customer base that’s growing day by day!

“My role is so rewarding – I love making a difference and having our hard work recognised. There are so many opportunities to grow if you have great leadership skills… I never thought I could be where I am in the time I’ve got here.”

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