Co-op Hopes Overhauled Network And IT Will Support Food Retail Growth

The Co-operative Group hopes a transformed network infrastructure will help it grow its food retail business as it continues to push its small and medium sized supermarket strategy.

BT has agreed a multi-million pound contract with the Co-op to replace legacy IT systems and install modern fibre network architecture across its 2,800 local, convenience and medium sized stores across the UK over the next five years.

These networks will be supported by BT’s broadband technology, serving up in-store Wi-Fi and faster till transactions, hoping this will entice more customers and ensure its systems are reliable.

Co-op Wi-Fi

BT will also provide acess to its MPLS platform, giving the Co-op more bandwidth as and when it needs it as growth continues and its digital transformation programme accelerates.

“Our partnership with BT is core to enabling our transformation programme in Retail and the wider Co-op,” said Cheryl Marshall, Co-op Retail CIO. “It provides the foundation blocks that future proof our investments and enable a digital future for our customers and members.”

“Shoppers increasingly expect retailers to introduce a digital experience to their physical stores to speed up, simplify and enhance their in-store experience,” added Colm O’Neill, MD of Major Business and Public Sector at BT. “The new retail technologies and services that Co-op is looking to introduce to bring about this change need to be underpinned by a high-speed, flexible and reliable network.”

Previous tech innovations at the co-op have seen it install virtual desktops and allow its banking customers to use Apple Pay.

The Co-operative Group’s chief digital officer is Mike Bracken, who joined the company after quitting as director of the Government Digital Service (GDS).

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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