Retiring chief executive says customer service is key to retailer’s success

Martin Cheatle, ex-chief executive of the Central England Co-operative.
Martin Cheatle, ex-chief executive of the Central England Co-operative.
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The departing boss of the Central England Co-operative says top quality customer service will be key to the retailer’s ongoing success.

Martyn Cheatle has retired as chief executive of the Central England Co-operative after nine years in the job.

During that time the business has seen more than £300 million investment, a growth in the number of food stores from 168 to 266 and funeral homes from 81 to 131 and 8,000 staff across 16 counties.

Mr Cheatle, who joined the Society in 2001 as Head of Finance, said: “The key thing for the future is going to be continuing to showcase our point of difference.

“This means retailing in convenient locations, being community based and offering fantastic customer service. All three things we do very well.

“I am pleased to have overseen significant investment and growth. Our strong financial performance has also enabled us to continue to put membership and community at the centre of everything we do and all of the decisions we make.

“It has also allowed us to go from just one new site opening a year to a significant new store opening programme, with growth like this just becoming business as usual.”

His tenure has seen the launch of a food redistribution project, raising millions for charities including Newlife and Dementia UK and ensuring there are food banks in 90 per cent plus of stores.

Mr Cheatle will be succeeded by Debbie Robinson, who has joined from SPAR UK where she was UK Managing Director.