Co-op reports 3.5% like-for-like sales growth at food stores
However, the group has reported a pre-tax loss of £132 million in 2016 after writing off the value of its 20% stake in the troubled Co-operative Bank.
The group’s revenues increased by 3% to £9.5 billion in the period,
Total sales at Co-op Food rose to £7.1 billion in 2016 from £7 billion in 2015. During the year, the business invested in opening 112 stores, refitting 155, increasing staff pay, improving infrastructure and strengthening its food range.
By the end of 2016 it had 2,774 stores compared to 2,803 at the end of 2015 after it sold or closed 141 stores that did not fit with its convenience store ambitions. It also agreed the sale of 298 stores to McColl's Retail Group which started to transfer across in early 2017.
Following the investment, underlying operating profit at Co-op Food was only slightly down on last year at £182 million compared to £186 million previously.
Allan Leighton, independent non-executive chair of the Co-op, said: "This was an exceptional year for the Co-op and these results show the success of all the work to rebuild. We've invested in our brand, our businesses and our colleagues and now we can clearly see the benefits - a big jump in membership, better sales and increasing market share. The Co-op is now better for members, better for colleagues and better for communities up and down the UK.”
The group’s funeralcare business grew its revenues by 3% while its insurance delivered sales growth of up 28%, based on motor premium inflation, improved pricing and distribution capabilities.
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