Welcome to the new world

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The completion of the Co-op’s takeover of Nisa signals the start of a whole new way of doing business, not just for Nisa retailers but for Costcutter stores, too.

Retailers in both groups can now look forward to better prices, new branded SKUs and the option to sell Co-op own labels. While only time will tell how this will turn out, most of the retailers affected will regard this as a growth opportunity: after all, more than 75% of Nisa members voted in favour of the takeover, and for Costcutter it could hardly be worse than it was before.

The new regime goes beyond the sale of product, however. Where Nisa retailers were once shareholders as well as customers, now they are customers alone. There have already been questions asked about whether Nisa retailers are getting as good a deal as Costcutter, but they no longer own the business so their voice is less powerful.

Being a customer is still an important status, and I am sure the Co-op Group will aim to be as even-handed and transparent as possible, but for Nisa retailers the terms of engagement are very different now.

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