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    ‘Co-op is one of UK’s most resilient retail brands’

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    Co-op has been named as one of the most resilient retail brands, outperforming the wider UK category which experienced a combined valuation decline of 17 per cent, states a recent report.

    According to the latest Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable UK Brands 2023 report, the Co-op brand is now worth £1.4 billion, down slightly by 2 per cent on last year, with the retailer climbing four places to number 37. 

    Tesco was the only retail brand to make the top ten this year, while Next was the only non-FMCG retailer in the top 30. Boots gained five places while JD Sports’ brand valuation dipped by 3 per cent, taking it to 62nd in the ranking.

    Adele Jolliffe, head of brand consultants at Kantar Insights UK, comments, “It’s been a very tough few years for retail.  The accelerated shift to online has put pressure on business models, while the cost-of-living crisis has ignited the battle for share of wallet as consumers rein in their spending.  However, there are still opportunities to find growth in a challenging market and brand is one of the most powerful tools in retailers’ arsenal – giving shoppers a reason to buy rather than to cut. 

    “What businesses like Co-op, Boots and JD Sports do especially well is knowing what they represent for consumers and fiercely protecting that identity and reputation.  At the same time, they’re flexible and creative enough to adapt to changing habits and attitudes.

    “Next is a good example of a brand that has evolved in line with shopper behaviour but also stayed true to the essence of who it is and what it stands for.  For example, it has maximised its store estate for click and collect orders, benefiting from last mile efficiencies while providing the seamless purchase experience its customers want and like – and for which it is widely known.”

    Collectively, the UK’s leading 75 brands are now worth £199bn, a fall of 14 per cent year on year which is largely in line with the annual global trend which shows a fall of 20 per cent.  However, in contrast, the most valuable global brands have increased their value by 39 per cent since 2020.  For the UK, the figure is just 6 per cent.

    “The UK’s year-on-year performance may paint a similar picture to the global trend but if we dig a little deeper into the numbers, the UK is lagging in the medium term.  UK brands are falling behind their global peers and the few success stories are an exception to the rule,” Jolliffe comments.

    Kantar’s analysis shows that UK brands are failing to set themselves apart from the competition.  

    “Of the eight markets we analysed, UK brands are right at the bottom for how differentiated consumers perceive them to be.  We have some incredibly well-known names in this country and they come to mind easily for people, but being familiar isn’t enough to get consumers to put their hands in their pockets and pay the prices brands need to sustain healthy margins,” Jolliffe comments.

    The findings demonstrate the risks for brands who don’t distinguish themselves, most notably Wilko which collapsed into administration in August. 

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