The Co-operative Group encompasses other branded businesses, including The Co-operative Food, The Co-operative Funeralcare,The Co-operative Travel, Co-operative Legal Services, and The Co-operative Energy. Over the past years, the group scaled down the Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Electrical businesses. After the selling of its bank shares between 2014 and 2017, the group closed the Electrical division in 2019.
The Co-operative Group itself is the largest of these businesses and operates the collective buying group, otherwise known as the Co-operative Federal Retail and Trading Services, which is the central buying group that supplies almost all food bought for sale in Co-operative food stores. Although managed by the group, it is controlled by each of its member societies which allows for the negotiation of better prices from suppliers in order to effectively compete with other major grocery retailers. The group also runs a community dividend scheme, in which a share of yearly profits are re-invested in the communities where they trade.
The group's food retailing business, which operates as Co-op Food, has over 2,600 stores across the country and is the sixth largest retailer in the United Kingdom. These shops range from convenience stores to some larger superstores, although the majority are convenience to medium-sized supermarkets. The Co-operative is well-known for its ethical trading and campaigning, which ranges from issues such as animal welfare and the use of pesticides to clean energy and a locally-sourced product range. As of 2017, the retailer became the first in the country to sell British-only fresh meat to counteract rising levels of imports and uncertainties following Brexit. It was also the first major retailer to stock Fairtrade products and publishes an annual report on sustainability issues, including figures on the volume of produced food waste and the share that is recycled or reused.