Co-op investing in community

WE WERE concerned to read that Mr Beauchamp is disenchanted with the layout of our refreshed Stockbridge store (letter published 6 December), as we have received numerous positive comments from shoppers who appreciate the benefits of the improvements to increase the product range and reduce energy usage.

We would love a larger store but there isn’t room to extend, and so we’ve tried to make the best use of the space available.

We have increased the number of chilled cabinets to offer a wider range of fresh and frozen food and fitted energy-saving sliding doors to the chillers.

We’ve made room for a bigger product range by extending the height of the existing shelving, but have also been able to maintain the previous aisle widths, which was important in this store as space is restricted. By changing the till area we’ve given customers more space at the front of the store and there’s also now more space for the post office.

We are now also able to stock more locally sourced food and drink in our popular ‘Local Flavours’ range, helping to meet customer demand for this and continue to support local producers.

The Southern Co-operative, which is an independent business based in Hampshire with more than 180 stores located in high streets across southern England, is also committed to being an integral part of the local communities where we trade.

In Stockbridge, this includes our Community Support Card scheme which recently donated £15,000 to Stockbridge Primary School to help the school refurbish its library and create a kitchen area for children to learn to cook (as reported in this paper 25 October) and the store is currently seeking applications from local good causes and charities to bid for up to £15,000 funding in 2014.

The store’s colleagues, led by retail business manager Claire Walls, have volunteered their time to help the local scout group to clear scrubland around the scout hut, together with the deputy store manager Fiona Greenlees volunteering on a weekly basis to support the young people in their scouting activities.

Colleagues have also driven fundraising in store to raise £1,000 topped up with a £500 donation from The Southern Cooperative to shortly install a defibrillator in the High Street for the Stockbridge community.

The store’s colleagues have also often engaged with the community to raise funds for Naomi House.

We trust that the on-going investment to upgrade our stores and improve our product range whilst reducing our environmental impact, combined with our community support and our dedication to good customer service, makes us stand out from other retailers.

Steve Tremlett, Head of Retail Development,


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