Co-op expects coronavirus costs to come in at more than £200m
The Co-op has said that the coronavirus crisis is likely to increase its costs by more than £200 million.
However, it expects the uplift to be partly offset by more food sales and the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s business rates holiday.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op, said no part of the business has been unaffected by the outbreak of the virus. He added: our food business has helped to feed the nation and our funeral colleagues have been there for families at their time of greatest need. All of this work will continue and I could not be more proud of our people who have delivered – day in, day out.”
The company has also reported that revenue at its food business rose by 3% to £7.5 billion in the year to 4 January. On a like-for-like basis, sales increased by 1.9% to mark six consecutive years of like-for-like revenue growth for the business. Underlying operational profit came in at £283 million.
During the year, the Co-op opened 79 new stores, refitted 152 shops and extended ten. It also piloted a home delivery service from Co-op stores which includes same-day services across almost 100 towns and cities. In addition, the retailer launched 554 new products and improved more than 1,000 existing lines in the year.
Murrells said: “The Co-op made further financial progress through 2019, showing that co-operation is working. While we didn’t know it at the time, that performance set us up well to withstand the impact of the covid-19 crisis and to enable us to support the communities we operate in.”
Photo by Georgia Hawkins