Consumer cooperatives at the forefront of store design and management in Europe

{posted_on} Jul 1, 2013 Новини

Consumer cooperatives at the forefront of store design and management in Europe

On 11 and 12 June 2013 in Sofia, the Central Cooperative Union, jointly with the European Community of Consumer Cooperatives (EURO COOP), held a General Assembly and workshop titled "Consumer Cooperatives at the Forefront of Store Design and Management in Europe". Representatives of national cooperative organisations from 18 European countries and Israel, members of EURO COOP, took part in these events. The participants were as follows:

  • Central Cooperative Union, Bulgaria
  • The Cooperative Group, United Kingdom
  • Zentralverband deutscher Konsumgenossenschaften, Germany
  • Confederacion Espanola de Cooperativas de Consumidores y Usuarios, Spain
  • Associazione Nazionale Cooperative di Consumatori-COOP, Italy
  • Union of Limassol co-operative societies and Cooperative supply organisation of Limassol-Paphos, Cyprus
  • National Union of Consumer Co-operatives, Romania
  • COOP Jednota Slovensko, Slovak Republic
  • Central Union of Consumer Societies, Ukraine
  • National Federation of Consumer Co-operatives and Trade , Hungary
  • Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta, Finland
  • COOP Supermarkten, Netherlands
  • Union of Czech and Moravian Consumer Cooperatives, Czech Republic
  • Kooperativa Förbundet, Sweden
  • Co-op, Israel

Anne Santamäki, President of Consumer Cooperatives Worldwide (CCW) and guests - representatives of the cooperative movements of Georgia, Macedonia and Serbia took part in the work of the forums held in Sofia.

In his address to the delegates Duncan Bowdler, President of the European Community of Consumer Cooperatives, pointed out that the topic of the upcoming workshop is extremely interesting and he is convinced that the shared experience of Bulgaria, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Finland, Ukraine, Italy, Netherlands and the Czech Republic would provide an opportunity for good European practices to be applied in the area of cooperative retail chain management in all regions of the old continent. Gratitude was extended to the Central Cooperative Union for its hospitality and for providing excellent facilities for these important European events.

Petar Stefanov, President of the Central Cooperative Union and Vice President of EURO COOP welcomed the delegates and emphasised that the establishment of a single cooperative market in Europe, the strengthening of the visibility of the COOP brand should be a priority for each national cooperative organisation. Furthermore, in his address Mr. Stefanov supported Duncan Bowdler by stating that the search for opportunities to share good practices of the individual countries is of extreme importance. In its 56-year history the European Community of Consumer Cooperatives has accumulated good basis and experience which should be used efficiently to maximise the benefits to its members. The significant contribution of Anne Santamaki, Aldo Soldi and Zoltan Szöke was commended and recognised by the delegates.

A very important aspect is the development of a unified information system, which would provide basis for assessment of the present and would indicate the right path for the future development.

The strengthening of the reputation and role of the consumer cooperatives to both national and the European economies is a guarantee that the COOP brand meets customer needs for goods and services of high quality at affordable prices.

Presentations of the good practices in retail chain management were delivered by:

  •  Boyan Milanov, Head of Unit "Trade" Department, Central Cooperative Union, Bulgaria - „New aspects in the development of the COOP Retail Chain";
  •  Kyriacos Nicolaides, Cyprus - presentation of electronic labels;
  •  Duncan Bowdler, Manager Retail and Legal Issues, the Cooperative Group, United Kingdom;
  •  Juhani Ilmola, Manager Strategic Planning and Sustainable Development - SOK Corporation, Finland;
  •  Vladyslav Goncharenko, President of UKOOPSPILKA, Ukraine - „The COOP Retail Chain in Ukraine";
  •  Fortunato Della Guerra, Innovations, Projects and Planning Director - ANCC/COOP, Italy;
  •  Herco Boer, Financial Director, COOP Supermarkten, Netherlands
  •  Miroslav Kajňák, Legal and Commercial Services Director, UCMCC, Czech Republic.

After the wrap-up of the official agenda the delegates visited shops from the COOP retail chain in Regional Consumer Cooperative "Razvitie", Elin Pelin, where they were cordially welcomed by the hosts Snezhana Lazarova - President of Sofia District Cooperative Union, Angel Ruev - President of RCC "Razvitie" Elin Pelin and Angelina Dimitrova - Deputy Mayor of Elin Pelin Municipality. The modern appearance of the COOP shop and the newly introduced e-label system provoked a lot of discussions and debates. The delegates and guests were impressed by the variety of COOP branded goods, produced in Bulgaria, and by those from cooperative organisations from the United Kingdom, Italy, Sicily, Slovak Republic, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In a warm, friendly environment the delegates and guests unambiguously stated that together they can promote the successful development of the COOP retail chains, and that they will expand and reaffirm their market positions through mutually beneficial cooperation between consumer cooperatives in Europe.

The General Assembly of EURO COOP approved the 2012 operations report and the financial statements of the organisation and adopted the work plan and budget for 2014.

After the closing of the events the delegates got acquainted with the history and stages in the development of the Bulgarian cooperative movement displayed at the National Cooperative Museum and took a group photograph in front of the low-relief of Todor Vlaykov and Todor Yonchev, founders of the cooperative movement in Bulgaria.

European Community of Consumer Cooperatives (EURO COOP)

One of the oldest non-government organisations in Europe, having its registered address in Brussels, established in 1957.


It unites the national consumer cooperative unions of 18 European countries and represent:

  • 4500 local and regional cooperatives
  • 30million cooperative members
  • 36000 commercial outlets generating EUR 74 billion economic turnover per year
  • 450000 employees




Duncan Bowdler -The Co-operative Group, United Kingdom

Vice Presidents

Petar Stefanov - Central Cooperative Union, Bulgaria

Enrico Migliavacca - Associazione Nazionale Cooperative di Consumatori-COOP, Italy


Mathias Fiedler - ZDK, Germany

Benedikte Kaalund - FDB, Denmark

Janek Lepp - ETK, Estonia

Francisco José Etxaniz - HISPACOOP, Spain

Pavlos Aristidou - ESEL-Spolp, Cyprus

Nils Arild Steigedal - COOP Norge/, Norway

Ioan Crisan - CENTROCOOP, Romania

Gabriel Csollár - COOP Jednota, Slovak Republic

Vladyslav Goncharenko - UKOOPSPILKA, Ukraine

Zoltán Szöke - ÁFEOSZ, Hungary

Juhani Ilmola - SOK Corporation, Finland

Fred Bosch - COOP Supermarkten, Netherlands

Zdenek Juracka - UCMCC, Czech Republic

Tommy Ohlström - KF, Sweden

Ofer Feinstein - Co-op, Israel

Secretary General

Rodrigo Gouveia