The stores, which are based in new interactive education centres in Wales and Somerset, come complete with stocked shelves and shop fronts like any normal Co-op Welcome store, but have no staff and won’t sell a thing. The mocked-up outlets will instead be used to teach children about issues such retail crime, anti-social behaviour and age-restricted sales, as will other realistic settings in the centres, such as railway lines, public transport and construction sites.
The company has not ruled out placing more mocked-up stores in similar educational centres throughout the UK. Co-operative Group central services general manager Julia Rogers said: “The Co-op is committed to child safety and doing all it can to reduce problems with crime and anti-social behaviour. Education is key in achieving that objective, and these innovative centres are excellent resources.”