Your Questions

Our members have been getting in touch. If you have a question, let us know here.

Does the Society wish to, or feel it is financially viable to, make a new store acquisition in the coming year?"- Michael

The Society’s strategy continues to be to grow the business. Members will have seen in recent years we have grown our Society through acquisition or occasionally through ‘cold starts’ – an example of which would be The Sorrells in Stanford-le-hope. We continue to actively look for new acquisitions, and in 2022 we will see a new funeral branch joining our estate, covering Basildon.

Barry Wood - Chief Executive Officer

Why is the Society using Snappy Shopper to home deliver food as it has always opposed deliveries of this type?" – Malcolm

When we’ve considered online delivery options in the past, we’ve always had to fund the development of the digital platform ourselves in order to have a way to take the orders, process them and manage the delivery. The cost of that would have been prohibitive, and on that basis we’ve never considered it a financially viable proposition. However, with the development of Snappy Shopper and similar platforms, all we have to do is provide the stock and the people to service the orders. That being said, it isn’t a trading activity that we expect to break even on overnight and there is a rate of deliveries we need to meet to make sure the service is a success.

Barry Wood - Chief Executive Officer

Is a food option within the department stores being considered?" – Mr. Shepherd

The simple answer is no. It has been debated in the boardroom, and has been many times. There are two reasons why; firstly, the investment involved to put a food operation into either store. Secondly is the evidence of past experiences. If we look at Braintree Quadrant, it had a food operation in there up until 2000 and it was phenomenally loss-making and I have no wish to repeat that. Convenience stores historically do far better on neighbourhood estates. Sadly, when you get to town and city centres – particularly when you get to 7pm or even before – you do lose your trade. We saw that when we had a store in the High Chelmer shopping centre in Chelmsford. We couldn’t make the sales stack up, and if anything the footfall on that side of town is higher than the end that Chelmsford Quadrant sits on.

Barry Wood - Chief Executive Officer

Chelmsford Star’s Co-op Funeral Directors took a leading position by adopting the ICA’s co-op marque in the funeral business. Now other Society’s are adopting the marque in their food stores. Will Chelmsford Star consider putting the ICA logo above their food stores?" – Steven

We undertook a piece of work recently that was designed to bring together our brands. Members will know we trade our food under “the co-operative”, we trade funerals under the international co-operative marque, we trade travel under “co-operative travel” and departments stores under “Quadrant”. We recognise that we need to bring these together and work has been done on how we can do that. There are no plans at the moment to bring the food stores together under the ICA marque just yet, however the Board have indicated this is something they’d like us to look at over the next few years.

Barry Wood - Chief Executive Officer