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Our missions strategy

An important change in strategic thinking.

A change in thinking

Before things took an unexpected turn in terms of Covid-19, we had started a journey to more effectively collaborate between our Trading teams and wider business units. The goal was to focus on customer needs, supported by the leverage of the new capabilities that HIVE, Join the Dots and Retail Business Transformation (RBT) bring. 


With the world turned on its head, making progress on this workstream has become even more important to us as we pivot the business to face the ‘new normal’. We want to talk to you about a shift in thinking that's taking place, which will eventually impact every part of our business. 


When you consider our thinking and how our business is organised, the focus is on trading categories. That helps us work with suppliers; Account Managers are often assigned by retail account first (i.e. Co-op, Tesco) and then the category of trade (e.g. Impulse). Our ambition is to maintain our excellent ways of working while challenging ourselves and suppliers to put customers at the centre of what we do. That's why we're developing a model that increasingly puts the customer and their needs at the heart of our thinking. 


Our missions strategy

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Customers don’t think about the categories they’re shopping in, they think about their objectives; their mission that day. Now, there are lots of ways you can define our customers' missions. You might've heard us talk before about customers coming to our stores for a 'top up' shop or a 'meal for tonight' - those missions will be just as important as before with just as much ambition for growth. What we've done is come up with our own missions that will help us focus and combine our efforts strategically and cross-functionally.


There are many different reasons for customers to come into our shops, but the priority missions I want to make sure we win in are Meal for TonightNewsagent, Drinks, Food to Go and Frozen. Many of our categories play a role in succeeding in these missions, for example, Edibles is as critical in the Meal for Tonight thinking as the Fresh categories are.



This is a long-term evolution in the way we think about and plan our offer, while we're still working out the specifics in terms of the mission strategies, we're clear on an ambitious end goal. Our vision is to see our offer reflect customer thinking more closely, from the way space is planned to the products and pack sizes stocked on our shelves and the prices and promotions offered. 


To get there, we'll need to see a cultural shift in our own teams and among our supply base. While categories will always play an important role in how we trade with suppliers and organise our teams, we'll need to expand our thinking and consider how each category plays into the overall customer experience, identifying the opportunities to meet customer needs in a way that feels intuitive for them. Examples of the kind of thinking we're looking for can be seen already in some of our deals like Super Savers, where we think about customer occasions and try to build a compelling promotion around it.


We'll continue to update you as our teams develop the mission strategies - I know some of you may have already started discussions with your Heads of Category. The leaders of missions will talk you through our mission strategy in more detail at this year's IGD Trade Briefing. 


Book your place at our IGD Trade Briefing to hear from...

  • Oliver Pinder leading Meal for Tonight

  • Dahlia Stroud leading Newsagent

  • Simon Cairns leading Drinks

  • Nicole Tallant leading Food to Go

  • Rebecca Oliver-Mooney leading Frozen


A long term evolution

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