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The Co-operative boosts wine buying team with Gyles Walker

Published:  27 May, 2014

The Co-operative has boosted its wine buying team with the addition of Gyles Walker as buyer from Spain and Africa.

Fromer Morrisons wine buyer Gyles Walker is joiing the Co-operative.The Co-operativeThe Co-operative is boosting its wine buying team with the addition of Gyles Walker.

Walker has more than 20 years experience in the wine industry, and was most recently buyer for Australia, New Zealand, Italy and France at Morrisons. Prior to that he worked for Spar.

Walker will focus on "revitalising" the Co-operative's wine range, adding new lines and focusing on its own label products.

Walker has a WSET Diploma and has been a judge at the International Wine Challenge. In 2013 he was responsible for sourcing the only supermarket own-brand wine to be awarded a gold medal at the IWC.

"I am delighted to be joining the Co-operative team at a time when the retailer has a strong attention on wines. It presents me with an exciting opportunity to search out interesting wines for our customers and introduce some new lines. 

"My plan is to focus on own brand, ensuring it offers great variety and value. I want to have the best selection of wines for a convenience retailer, making sure the Co-operative is at the top of mind for customers when purchasing wine whatever the occasion," Walker said.

Back in March The Co-operative introduced 56 new wines to its range, with a much greater focus on own brand wines - especially its Fairtrade and Truly Irresistible lines.

The retailer is looking to make the category easier to shop by merchandising wines by price and giving strong performing wines more space.

Part of the changes will see rosé, bag in box and smaller format wines get more room on shelf. It also sees a major opportunity in offering chilled rosé wine throughout the summer.

Speaking in March, category trading manager for wine Simon Cairns, said: "We want to make the wine fixture easier to shop for our customers with wines merchandised by price, better availability on shelf and more presence for strong players in the range.

He added: "The changes to the wine range will also allow greater freedom to our passionate wine buying team, as more focus is given to own-brand lines."