The introduction of more than 800 Co-op products into Costcutter-supplied stores is helping to drive standards across the group, Costcutter claims.

More than 97% of Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG) retailers stocking Co-op own brand products have passed a new test, designed to help improve store standards, Costcutter says.

The audit, the first stage of wider plans to improve standards and consistency, has so far seen more than 600 retailers work with their business development managers (BDMs) to ensure that eight core standards, including product labelling and a ‘would I buy it’ test, are being enforced in store.

Supported by mock audits by the BDM team to reveal any areas in need of work, these stores have now been spot-checked by an independent auditor.

Retailers stocking Co-op products will continue to be independently spot-checked up to twice a year to ensure store standards remain high.

Josie Chamberlin, owner of Costcutter Codicote in Hertfordshire, said the Co-op own label range was proving to be a great success for the store, driving sales and footfall.

“It’s a strong range with quality fresh meat products that also delivers complete meal solutions which customers are really welcoming,” she said.

CSG director of marketing Sean Russell, said: “These audits have proved to be the perfect platform to drive improved standards across every aspect of the store, ensuring a greater degree of uniformity for shoppers when they shop at any CSG store.

“This is the great start we were expecting and forms part of our strategy for the future.

“The standards our retailers have been inspected on, ensure consistency of quality and presentation. By driving up store standards, the whole group benefits as we’re able to reliably deliver a pleasant experience in store, driving footfall and frequency of visit for all our retailers.”

CSG retailers currently have access to over 800 Co-op products, with the range set to more than double in size.