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Co-op confirms new wine head

The Co-operative Food has appointed former Morrisons buyer Simon Cairns as its new wine category trading manager.

The announcement follows the departure of the UK retailer’s former wine development manager, Paul Bastard, who took voluntary redundancy in August 2012 after 19 years with the company.

Prior to taking this role as head of the Co-op’s wine team, Cairns has built up a total of nine years experience in the wine industry. At Morrisons he held responsibility for the Australia, New Zealand and Italy categories, which previous buying roles included Young’s Wholesale and Spar’s northern distributors James Halls & Sons.

Outlining his plans for the new role, Cairns said: “I have always been focused on making wine more approachable for customers, and one of my aims is to improve our interaction with our shoppers by presenting them with easy-to-shop fixtures and clear communications.

He also confirmed that the multiple retailer’s Fairtrade emphasis, which sees it account for 60% of the UK’s total wine sales in this sector, “will stay firmly on the agenda.” In addition, Cairns revealed: “I also plan to focus even more on Champagne and sparkling wines, to further enhance our market-leading performances in these categories.”

Ian Martin, head of commercial for beers, wines & spirits at The Co-operative, welcomed Cairns to the business, remarking: “With a wealth of experience, qualifications and a real passion for wine, Simon’s appointment will further enhance this dedicated category and strengthen The Co-operative’s excellent wine range.”

The appointment comes at a time when several other UK multiple retailers have made significant changes to their wine teams.

Earlier this month Morrisons announced Mark Jarman as its new head of wine operations, while the end of 2012 saw Tesco promote Dan Jago to the post of UK & group wine director as part of a major restructuring of its UK commercial food division.

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