The Valencian cooperative Consum started out in 1975 as a consumer cooperative, with the opening of its first establishment in Alaquàs (Valencia) and a group of 600 consumer members.
Since then, Consum has grown steadily to become the largest Spanish cooperative in terms of number of members, and one of the leading companies in the distribution sector more generally. Rapid initial growth in its commercial network and number of consumer partners quickly consolidated the core business, followed by the addition of small existing consumer cooperatives in local towns such as Silla, Enguera and L’Olleria (Valencia).
In 1987, the Consum cooperative changed its approach to expansion, with the acquisition of further, more sizeable distribution companies, such as Vegeva, Ecoben, Alihogar and Jobac in the Valencian Community, as well as Distac and Disbor in Catalonia.
The Consum Cooperative ended its commercial alliance with the Eroski Group in February 2004. This decision was motivated by differences over the evolving organizational model.
After leaving the Eroski Group in 2004, Consum began an ambitious expansion programme, based on organic growth (through its own supermarkets) and via the acquisition of other companies. In 2007, Consum increased its network of Consum and Consum Basic supermarkets in Catalonia with 53 Supersol supermarkets, thus consolidating its expansion in this region. That same year, the Cooperative also acquired 62 Caprabo supermarkets, distributed throughout the Valencian Community, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia, reinforcing its strategic position across the Mediterranean. From that point on, the large-scale supermarket model was implemented, with free-standing stores featuring 1,500-1,800 m² of sales floor, customer parking and multiple sections, prioritising the quality of fresh produce and consumer service, in addition to new sections.
In May 2010, Consum acquired 21 supermarkets from Vidal Europa and one from Eroski, continuing with its policy of organic expansion. In 2009, for the first time, the Sustainability Report obtained the highest category of certification in terms of sustainability, receiving the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)’s A+ certificate. In 2011, Consum standardised its Responsible Food Management Profit program, thanks to which it makes food donations to hundreds of social organisations, soup kitchens and NGOs in the areas where it is established.
In 2012, the Las Torres de Cotillas logistics platform was inaugurated in the Region of Murcia, involving an investment of 70 million euros and creating 300 direct and 270 indirect jobs. Consum’s new high-productivity automated warehouse was also launched in Silla (Valencia), representing an investment of 2.8 million euros. The new Consum perfumery section was also launched. In 2013, the second phase of the Las Torres de Cotillas logistics platform in the Region of Murcia was inaugurated, involving an investment of 20 million euros and generating 110 direct jobs. Consum’s general merchandise platforms in Silla (Valencia) and Sant Boi de Llobregat (Barcelona), obtain the AENOR N certification for “Excellence in in-store service” for their client service charters. Consum is the first Spanish agri-food cooperative to obtain this certification. And in 2014, the Free Zone logistics platform was inaugurated in Barcelona, with an investment of 50 million euros and the generation of 170 direct jobs. Consum reaches 200 stores with its new perfumery section model.
Consum celebrates its 40th anniversary with a commercial network of 650 supermarkets shared between Consum and its Charter franchise, a turnover of 2,121 million euros, a workforce of more than 12,433 people and more than 2.6 million partner-clients.
Consum launches its online store in Valencia and the greater metropolitan area. It also begins to use gas trucks in its logistics park reducing CO2 emissions by 30%. Consum implements the use of CO2 in the refrigeration systems of its eco-efficient stores. In 2017, it extended its online store to Barcelona and is recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture as the only distribution company to have its carbon footprint certified. It also obtains “Corporate Equality” recognition from the Ministry of Health. In 2019, it redesigned its supermarket model to put the customer at the center and improve their experience. In addition, it begins to install charging points for electric cars in its parking lots. In 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Consum invested more than 12 million euros in safety measures for its customers and workers. It was the first Spanish supermarket in which it was compulsory to wear a mask.
Consum has more than 830 supermarkets, including its own and Charter franchisees, distributed throughout Catalonia, the Valencian Community, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, Andalusia and Aragon. With more than 4 million client-partners and 18,212 workers, Consum is the only distribution company to hold the Family-Responsible Company Certificate (Efr). In 2021, the Cooperative was given the Top Employers award, for the nine consecutive year, as one of the Best Companies to work for in Spain. The Cooperative’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 84% since 2015. It is also the first distribution company to have obtained the “Reduzco” (I reduce) label from the Ministry for Ecological Transition – not surprising given that 100% of Consum supermarkets are eco-efficient.
“At present Consum has over 830 supermarkets, distributed between Consum and the Charter franchises”.
“Our consumer partner collective has already surpassed 4 million people”.