Co-operative Federal Trading Services

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Co-operative Federal Trading Services
Co-operative Federation
Industry Wholesale
Founded 2015, predecessor 1993
Headquarters Manchester, United Kingdom
Products Grocer

The Co-operative Federal Trading Services is the central buying group for co-operative retail societies in the United Kingdom. It came into its current structure in 2015, though its predecessor was established in 1993, and it supplies almost all food bought for sale by the over 4,000 co-operative foodstores in the UK.[1] The group is owned and controlled by each of its member societies but is managed by the Co-operative Group on their behalf,[2] The buying group operates by pooling the collective buying power for 18 co-operative societies in the UK, allowing them to negotiate better prices from suppliers so as to compete effectively with other UK supermarket chains.

The Co-operative is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).[3]

Co-operative Retail Trading Group[edit]

The Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG) was established in 1993 by the Co-operative Wholesale Society to centralise buying power for retail co-operatives in the UK. By 2002 it had become the central buying group for the all of the major food retailing co-operatives, after being joined by the last two independent societies.[4] The CRTG lost its complete control over the food co-op sector in 2014 however after the Clydebank Co-operative Society left the buying group.[5] After the financial crisis in The Co-operative Group it was decided that The Group should no longer be responsible for the central buying group (the CRTG) as, if it had have collapsed, it could have led to the collapse of the independent co-operative societies as they would have had major difficulties in sourcing produce.[citation needed] The new buying group, Co-operative Federal Trading Services, was established in 2015 and differs from its predecessor most notably in that each member co-operative has equal control over the business,[6] whereas before control was proportional to total amount purchased through the buying group (giving The Co-operative Group dominant control).

Consortium of Independent Co-operatives[edit]

Prior to 1998, the CRTG faced competition within the retail co-operative movement from another grocery buying group: the Consortium of Independent Co-operatives (CIC), which was led by Co-operative Retail Services until its merger with the Co-operative Wholesale Society. Several of the larger regional co-operatives of the time were members of CIC: Portsea, Scotmid, United, and Yorkshire. In 1998, the CIC supplied £1 billion of goods annually, and the CRTG £2.5 billion.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Voinea, Anca (11 Mar 2015). "Group moves from CRTG to Federal Trading Services". Co-operative News. Retrieved 1 Jul 2015. Consumer co-operatives are forming a successor to the Co-operative Retail Trading Group. The new buying group, Federal Trading Services, will be collectively owned by independent retail societies and the Co-operative Group, which are currently part of CRTG. 
  2. ^ Glossary, archived from the original on 6 Apr 2008, retrieved 28 Nov 2009 
  3. ^ Heart of England Co-operative Society (February 2007), annual report & financial statements for the period ended 20th January 2007 (PDF), Heart of England Co-operative Society, p. 13, retrieved 19 November 2007 [dead link]
  4. ^ About Us, 2007, retrieved 19 November 2007 
  5. ^ Kidd, Marie-Claire (24 Feb 2014). "Clydebank Co-op withdraws from national co-operative buying group". Co-operative News. Retrieved 1 Jul 2015. Clydebank Co-operative is entering a supply agreement with Glasgow-based wholesaler JW Filshill, bringing to an end its 10-year arrangement with the Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG). It is the first co-op to withdraw from the co-operative movement’s buying group, which previously controlled 100% of Co-op food buying in the UK. 
  6. ^ Voinea, Anca (21 May 2015). "How co-operatives can fight back over falling sales". Co-operative News. Retrieved 1 Jul 2015. Retail co-operatives are in the process of moving from the Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG) to Federal Retail Trading Services (FRTS), a new buying group designed to put independent societies like Midcounties on a level playing field with the Co-operative Group. ... 
  7. ^ Nigel Cope (17 Sep 1998). "Collapse of buying group adds to pressure for Co-op merger". The Independent. Retrieved 4 Dec 2009. 

External links[edit]