Criticism After St Mary’s Co-Op Runs Out Of Fresh Food

Co-Op's St Mary's store

Criticism that the Islands’ only major food supplier ran out of fresh produce over the weekend have been put down to a switch from weekly to daily deliveries.

Local residents contacted Radio Scilly when they were confronted with bare shelves in the fresh produce section at the St Mary’s Co-Operative food store on Saturday and Sunday.

The Co-Operative rolled out a new computerised ordering system to all its 2800 stores in January

However, one Co-Op insider said that the new ordering system looks at sales over the previous three weeks and orders automatically, with little local input.

There was concern that this system would not be able to cope with sudden changes in business, such as during the upcoming World Pilot Gig Championship, where hundreds of extra visitors converge on St Mary’s.

Spokesperson for the Co-Op, Deborah Clarke, said, “we are currently rolling out an industry-leading new system which will improve the ordering process for all of our stores, including St Mary’s. The system recognises trading patterns and automatically triggers replenishment according to demand, which ultimately will mean better availability.

“However, of course we recognise that stores need to respond to local events, therefore store managers will continue to have the capacity to plan for such events and alter orders accordingly.”

Deborah admitted there was availability issues at the St Mary’s store this weekend but put this down to a switch from low-season, weekly deliveries to the daily, high-season pattern.

The Co-Operative has had a difficult few months, with a 20% fall in profits from its food division during 2011 and the recent announcement of massive job losses at their Manchester headquarters as part of an extensive restructuring of the business.


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