Central England Co-op CEO talks about the future of the high street on new podcast

Central England Co-op Chief Executive Debbie Robinson has given an in-depth interview about the future of the high street as part of a new podcast series.

More Than a Shop is a weekly show that looks for alternative ideas to mainstream problems from people across the co-operative movement.

Debbie spoke at length to presenter Elizabeth Alker about her job, the major changes she has made since taking over, the current and future state of the high street for shoppers and how much ethics, values and principles play a part in consumer decisions.

On the podcast, Debbie said: “Certainly at the centre of the thinking at Central England Co-op is about a 15 minute liveable community and it's having everything accessible that you need.”

Another topic Debbie covers at great length is her passion to enact change when it comes towards colleague safety.

She said: “We have shared a lot about making the environment itself being really welcoming from a customer's perspective, I think that's absolutely crucial. But there's something that's very close to our hearts at Central England Co-op, and it's actually the safety of our colleagues.

“So something that we're trying to do is to really raise the awareness and each time there is an incident we write to our local MPs, we write to the Home Secretary, and we would be looking for a change in the law that really gives the same custodial sentence to violence against shop workers that you get from public service workers.”

Speaking about the future of the high street, she said: “I think the high street will just continue to evolve. Some businesses will last, some of them will be replaced by other things.”

Listen to Debbie on the More Than a Shop podcast via morethanashop.coop or wherever you get your podcasts from today (3 June).

More Than a Shop is a collaboration between Co‑operatives UK, The Co‑op, Co‑op News, The Co‑operative College and The Co‑operative Heritage Trust. The series is presented by Elizabeth Alker, and it's produced by Geoff Bird on behalf of Sparklab Productions.


Notes to editors


Picture caption: Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive.


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.


Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 


Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.


We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.


Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood



Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop