IT will play a key role in reducing costs following the merger of the two largest players in the co-operative movement last week.
The Co-operative Whole-sale Society (CWS), said it expects significant savings by merging its IT systems with the Co-operative Retail Society (CRS). The merged organisation, which operates banking, insurance and high-street supermarkets, will have annual sales of £1.2bn.
"Integration is now our key business priority to ensure rapid business benefits while learning from best practices from both societies," said CWS chief executive, Graham Melmouth.
The CRS was one of the first retailers to unveil plans for dual-use smart cards allowing customers to collect loyalty points and withdraw and deposit money in banks.