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The Co-operative Group
The Co-operative Federal Retail and Trading Services is the central buying group for co-operative retail societies in the United Kingdom. It came into its current structure in 2015, though its predecessor was established in 1993, and it supplies almost all food bought for sale by the over 4,000 co-operative foodstores in the UK. The buying group is owned and controlled by each of its member societies but is managed by The Co-operative Group on their behalf. It operates by pooling the collective £8.5bn buying power for 18 co-operative societies in the UK, allowing them to negotiate better prices from suppliers, so as to compete effectively with other UK supermarket chains.
The current FRTS Managing Director is David McKnight 
Co-operative Retail Trading Group (1993-2015)
The Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG) was established in 1993 by the Co-operative Wholesale Society to centralise buying power for retail co-operatives in the UK. By 2002 it had become the central buying group for all of the major food retailing co-operatives, after being joined by the last two independent societies. The CRTG lost its complete control over the food co-op sector in 2014 however after the Clydebank Co-operative Society left the buying group. After the financial crisis in The Co-operative Group it was decided that The Group should no longer be responsible for the central buying group (the CRTG) as, if it had have collapsed, it could have led to the collapse of the independent co-operative societies as they would have had major difficulties in sourcing produce.
Consortium of Independent Co-operatives (Pre-1998)
Prior to 1998, the CRTG faced competition within the retail co-operative movement from another grocery buying group: the Consortium of Independent Co-operatives (CIC), which was led by Co-operative Retail Services until its merger with the Co-operative Wholesale Society. Several of the larger regional co-operatives of the time were members of CIC: Portsea, Scotmid, United, and Yorkshire. In 1998, the CIC supplied £1 billion of goods annually, and the CRTG £2.5 billion.
Federal Retail and Trading Services (2015-date)
A new buying group, Federal Retail and Trading Services, was established in 2015 and differs from its predecessor most notably in that each member co-operative has equal control over the business, whereas previously control was proportional to total amount purchased (giving The Co-operative Group dominant control). Although each member now has an equal voice, FRTS continues to be managed by The Co-operative Group.
UK worker-owned retail businesses and co-operatives, such as Infinity Foods, Unicorn Grocery and the John Lewis Partnership, are not FRTS members. Private and publicly owned ethical retailers, such as Riverford Organic Farmers, The People's Supermarket and William Jackson Food Group owned Abel & Cole, have also not historically been part of this buying group.[failed verification]
In 2016, FRTS commenced a project to explore potential co-operation with other European co-operative buying groups, including Coop Trading in Scandinavia.
- Voinea, Anca (11 March 2015). "Group moves from CRTG to Federal Trading Services". Co-operative News. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
Consumer co-operatives are forming a successor to the Co-operative Retail Trading Group. The new buying group, Federal Trading Services, will be collectively owned by independent retail societies and the Co-operative Group, which are currently part of CRTG.
- Glossary, archived from the original on 6 April 2008, retrieved 28 November 2009
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Heart of England Co-operative Society (February 2007), annual report & financial statements for the period ended 20th January 2007 (PDF), Heart of England Co-operative Society, p. 13, archived from the original (PDF) on 2 September 2011, retrieved 19 November 2007
- Devlin2019-11-14T16:05:00+00:00, Edward. "David McKnight made MD at Co-op's Federal Retail and Trading Services group". The Grocer. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- About Us, 2007, archived from the original on 23 October 2008, retrieved 19 November 2007
- Kidd, Marie-Claire (24 February 2014). "Clydebank Co-op withdraws from national co-operative buying group". Co-operative News. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
Clydebank Co-operative is entering a supply agreement with Glasgow-based wholesaler JW Filshill, bringing to an end its 10-year arrangement with the Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG). It is the first co-op to withdraw from the co-operative movement’s buying group, which previously controlled 100% of Co-op food buying in the UK.
- Nigel Cope (17 September 1998). "Collapse of buying group adds to pressure for Co-op merger". The Independent. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
- "Federal Retail Trading Services". Retrieved 31 October 2019.
- "Can buying groups help consumer co-ops address market challenges?". Retrieved 31 October 2019.