The Co-op is ramping up efforts to ensure its BWS products appeal to younger adult consumers, particularly in its urban stores. 

Simon Cairns, BWS category trading manager, told DRN: “The Co-op has always had shoppers aged 50-plus, but music festivals and other events like that have reignited the Co-op brand and we are seeing a reappraisal from younger shoppers. 

“We have been looking at the range to see how we can make our fixtures more exciting. It is about getting the balance right, and this is the opportunity for us to start to say that having the same range in all of our 2,700 stores isn’t appropriate. We also have to think about the needs of our Nisa partners now. 

“There still needs to be a focus on core retail and availability, and there is only so far you can fragment the range, but it is exciting to think that you can have a range in a transient city centre location that would be different to a range in a typical rural supermarket, because the needs are so different. 

“It would be really great to get younger shoppers in and to do this you have to put the right products in the right place, and now we can do this much more effectively and it’s also more exciting for the buyers. 

“From next February we are introducing our new merchandising system, which lets us be even more structured. It looks back at what sells where.”

As part of this, the retailer is introducing a number of new wines from Spain and Portugal, along with some naturally lower-in-alcohol wines. Newcomers include Porta Seis Red 2018 from Lisbon, a wine that has seen strong sales through Majestic Wines in the past; Brisa Rosa rosé 2018; Rock & Roots Organic Tempranillo 2018; and Portugal’s Vale Dos Pombos Vinho Verde 2018, which is naturally lower in alcohol at 9.5% abv. It also has new vintages for Cop de Ma Priorat 2017 and Cune White Rioja 2018. 

Cairns said: “We have always done well with traditional Rioja wines but when you look at who buys what where, and when you consider our urban stores have a slightly younger demographic then it makes sense to introduce some different wines from the region, and also ones that are more appealing visually. 

“Sarah Benson, the wine buyer for the region, has brought a very different lens to that category and is actively trying to target a younger shopper and she is trying to do that through quirky labels and things such as sulphite-free wines.

“This approach works well for our Spanish wines because it lines up with the fact that Spanish producers are really forward-thinking at the moment. There is a new generation of Spanish producers who are doing exciting things and being productive in what were once traditional areas.”

The Co-op is adding contemporary wines from other regions including Is This It?, a blend of 85% Pinot Blanc and 15% Grüner Veltliner from Hungary, and Chalk Duster Zinfandel 2018 from the US. 

New for Christmas is its first English sparkling rosé – Co-op Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rosé NV, produced by Balfour Hush Heath Estate – and its first premium own-label PX sherry from Lustau.

Of Eight Acres, Cairns said: “The quality is great, the label is great and the price point is great.”