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Robots and Amazon as Co-op plans “major acceleration” of e-commerce strategy


Co-op has signed a new partnership with Amazon and is extending is usage of Starship robot deliveries.

The moves come as the Manchester-based retailer seeks to more than double online sales from £70m to £200m by the end of the year.

“The pandemic has accelerated changes in consumer shopping trends and we’re driving forward with exciting plans to provide rapid kerb to kitchen grocery delivery services,” explained Steve Murrells, Group Chief Executive of Co-op.

“We are delighted to be working with Amazon. Its reach and leading technology and innovative approach means greater convenience for people in their communities. This, combined with our extended partnership with Starship Technologies, marks a significant milestone in our online strategy.”

The partnership with Amazon will enable Prime customers to do a full Co-op grocery shop via the platform. Initially launching in the Glasgow area, it will be rolled out to other parts of the UK before the end of the year.

The extension of the Starship Technologies contract allows the delivery of groceries “in as little as 20 minutes,” with a “dramatic” reduction in carbon emissions.

It will be increasing the number of autonomous vehicles operating and delivering Co-op groceries from 200 to 500 by the end of this year, bringing them to five new towns and cities, including Cambridgeshire, and extending the service into the North of England.

“Co-op stores across the country are well placed to serve shoppers locally and a key part of our strategy is to further develop our ecommerce offer by using the competitive advantage of our store footprint to provide ultra-fast home deliveries,” added Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive of Co-op Food.

“As a convenience retailer, the ability to come into stores will always be important to customers, but we also know that they want flexible options online. Our commercial strategy is focused on getting closer to where they are to provide what they need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.”

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