Heather Thomas

Group Property & Franchise Director: The Co-op Group, UK

Heather is a curious and energetic retail executive with deep functional expertise across commercial finance and property, both in the UK and internationally.

She is an experienced and effective change leader with a proven track record of building, developing and motivating high performing and diverse teams. She is known for delivering strong results at pace ensuring, focus on the “what” and the “how”

She is passionate about people and is a mentor, driver of talent development, and ensures inclusion and diversity in teams

She has successfully operated in highly complex stakeholder environments and has raised the bar with a consistently professional and informed approach

Heather started her career in Finance, and as a qualified accountant spent several years business partnering in commercial finance roles in Asda, before moving into the property team in 2012. She spent 4 years in this team before taking the opportunity to move to Arkansas, USA to work for Walmart International. Here she spent 5 years leading the Walmart International Real Estate team, working closely with the 10 international markets. Her role was to ensure effective allocation of $3bn of capital pa, supporting Walmart Internationals growth plans, in addition to ensuring effective investment in the existing estate of 6000 stores & 140 DC’s

In 2021 Heather and her family moved back to the UK where she took a role with The Co-op Group. She now leads the property and franchise teams where the key focus is to build an optimised & sustainable portfolio to support long term business growth. This includes c.2500 convenience stores, c.900 funeral care facilities plus depots, corporate offices & non-trading sites. In addition there is a strong focus on growth from new locations, through the development of the franchise business.

Heather is married to Huw and has 2 children. Ellen is 20 and is studying marketing at Newcastle University and Dan is 18, currently studying A levels and hoping to go to university to study mechanical engineering. They also have a springer spaniel called Ollie