Business learners advise on new Co-op store with biz-wiz Charlie securing a 20% discount on plastic-free products for all customers

10 March 2020

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Vocational business students from Brockenhurst College sat down with bosses from the Co-op chain recently to discuss retail strategies for their new store, which is opening in Brockenhurst village soon.

The focus group gave plenty of food for thought about making the Co-op’s latest venture a success by appealing to the sizable potential presented by students’ passing trade.

And executives were so impressed with an idea tabled by Charlie Wiltermood that he walked away with a £75 cash prize.

The seventeen-year-old from Southampton told them there was a perception among people that plastic-free products were more expensive than other products.

He suggested the new shop should actively promote non-plastic items to demonstrate that they are also good value.

Charlie said he believed the Co-op could ultimately “make the use of sustainable products a regular occurrence”.

The Co-op has now agreed to offer 20% discounts to all customers who purchase plastic-free products during the store’s opening fortnight.

Karen Dance from the Co-op said: “If we can get customers to initially try the concept with a promotional discount, they will hopefully change their buying patterns and become a regular plastic-free customer.

“This falls squarely behind our store working principle, which is to lead the way in bringing a more sustainable, plastic-free approach into the mainstream convenience store market by giving a plastic-free choice and influencing a change in buying habits.”

Business lecturer Lisa Murphy said: “It was a great opportunity for BTEC Business students to collaborate with a local business and apply their skills and knowledge, with some of their ideas being implemented.”