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Retail change and the United Kingdom Co-operative Movement - new opportunity beckoning?

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This paper considers the performance of an important player in the UK retail market - the Co-operative societies. We argue that the fragmented nature of the UK Consumer Co-operative Movement - which had at one time over 1000 separate associations - has historically been an impediment to its market competitiveness. The paper also demonstrates how wider trends in UK retailing favour nationally-organized chains such as the current market leader - Tesco. This inherent inability of the Co-op to compete nationally eventually led to it having to retreat from the successful superstore format so favoured by its rivals. However, we argue that current policy agendas offer a new opportunity for the Co-op.
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Keywords: Co-operatives; UK; deserts; food; inclusion; neighbourhoods; retail change; strategy; superstores

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Management University of Surrey Guildford GU2 7XH UK +44 01483 686338 +44 01483 686301 [email protected] 2: Department of Retail Management Manchester Metropolitan University Business School Aytoun St Manchester M1 3GH UK +44 0161 247 3990 +44 0161 247 3996 [email protected]

Publication date: 2003-07-01

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