Midcounties Co-operative Travel is renaming all its high street shops Co-op Travel in a sweeping rebrand aimed at cementing its position as the leading travel
co-operative in the country.

It will be the first time the society’s shops have carried the Co-op Travel brand in a decade.

The society-wide change will see all Midcounties Co-operative’s divisions, which include 58 travel agencies and 160 homeworkers
in its Personal Travel Agents division, as well as more than 400 food stores, nurseries, funeral homes and pharmacies, rebranded at “significant cost”.

Finer details have yet to be confirmed but the rebrand – set for spring 2019 – is due to involve “far-reaching” change to bolster its position as a leading UK travel agency and set it apart from other co-operative societies.

In addition to new shop fascias, changes being discussed are new travel agency uniforms, window displays, marketing straplines and campaign messages. This could, for example, include straplines such as ‘Your Co-op Travel’ and ‘Owned By You’.

New-look shop fascia have been trialled at Midcounties’ Solihull branch, but this could still change.

The move follows the disappearance of The Co-operative Travel brand from the high street as a result of the end of the joint venture with Thomas Cook in November 2017. Cook took full ownership of The Co-operative Travel shop network, rebranding or closing all branches.

Rad Sofronijevic, chief operating officer of Midcounties’ travel group, said: “We are the largest [co-operative travel] group and see the rebrand as an opportunity to establish ourselves as the national [co-op travel] brand. It is a simpler and clearer brand and we can have our own identity and freedom.”

Sofronijevic said the society was left with a challenge over whether to go with the national Co-op brand (light blue ‘clover leaf’) or identify itself as a separate, independent society.

“The big decision has been taken to follow the International Co-operative Alliance branding,” she said. “We wanted our own identity [in the UK].

“We have to work out what that will look like for our travel business. Our brands will all incorporate Co-op Travel, but we are working through our whole brand strategy – it’s a big task.”

She said the brand had benefited from consumers believing it was part of the national Co-operative group, but it now wanted to assert its independent identity.

“In our annual survey [staff] satisfaction levels are up, which gives us confidence as we are doing this rebrand strategy on a very engaged base,” she added.

At a glance

• The new Co-op Travel logo will be white and blue. It follows Midcounties Co-operative Travel’s decision to adopt the International Co-operative Alliance’s (ICA) logo.

• Midcounties chose the ICA-style logo (left) instead of the ‘clover leaf’ logo (below) of
The Co-operative Group, the UK’s
largest co-operative.

• Since 2013, Midcounties’ travel agency shops have carried a dark blue fascia and been branded ‘Co-operative Travel, part of The Midcounties Co-operative’.

• Previously the shops had a distinctive orange fascia, but this was changed to distinguish the stores from the national brand, The Co-operative Travel, which is now no longer on the high street.