All-French-produce store is a possibility, say the Co-op

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THE development of supply routes with Europe opens up the possibility of a Jersey store stocking entirely French products, according to the Co-op’s chief executive.

Mark Cox said that while the majority of the society’s business would continue to be with the UK, the news that Condor has purchased an additional ship which would bring freight from France created ‘new opportunities’.

Earlier this month, Condor confirmed it had bought MV Straitsman – a conventional ferry which can carry 400 passengers as well as freight. The ferry company has said the new vessel will run services between the UK, Jersey, Guernsey and France.

Currently, a small amount of Carrefour products are available in Co-op stores and Mr Cox said the additional capacity provided by the new ship would allow the Co-op to expand that offering.

He said: ‘Since launching the range in our stores it has proved very popular and we are keen to expand that route. There is a desire from our members and customers to see more products in stores, so the news that Condor is investing in that route is welcomed by us.’

He added that 90% of the society’s produce came from the UK and that the French food would ‘always be a smaller part of what we do’. However, he did not rule out a dedicated French store.

MV Straitsman (35449711)

‘The possibilities are endless,’ he said. ‘There are challenges around managing imports. Since Brexit the level of administration has changed completely and there are costs that we need to manage carefully, so there are some challenges to having a store purely stocking French products but we remain open-minded, depending on consumer demand.

‘There is no specific target. We remain in talks with Carrefour about expanding the route but it all depends on where consumer demand goes. The other thing this does is present opportunities for us to look at other supplies to come out of France.’

MV Straitsman is about 125 metres long and was built in 2005.

It has operated under different names in both Europe and New Zealand and will be renamed Condor Islander and undertake berthing trials in Guernsey and Jersey later this year before entering regular service.

The purchase of the boat was part-funded by the Guernsey Investment Fund – the investment arm of the States of Guernsey, although the amount has not been revealed.

lNews Focus on Jersey’s historic trade links: Page 8.

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