Co-operative Group returns to profit
The Co-operative Group has reported that its food business delivered a Â“robust" performance in 2014 as the wider group made a return to profit.
Like-for-like sales at the food business were up 0.4% overall and by 3.2% in the core convenience estate. Underlying profits increased by 1.5% to £251 million.
During the year, The Co-operative Food acquired 82 new convenience stores and refurbished more than 700 stores. In addition, prices were lowered across 40 categories as the business also invested in its own-brand products.
Looking ahead, The Co-operative Group said it expects the market to remain competitive for its food business but will continue with the implementation of its True North strategy with the aim of acquiring 100 new convenience stores and refitting 255 stores.
Across the wider Co-operative Group, profit was £124 million before member payments compared to a loss of £255 million in the previous year.
Stronger performances at its food and funerals businesses were offset by losses in general insurance. In addition, profit was boosted by the sale of the group’s farms and pharmacy businesses as well as by property disposals.
The group said the first phase of a three-phase turnaround had been completed successfully.
Alan Leighton, the group’s newly appointed chairman, said the progress made was "not just another commercial turnaround".
He added: "The communities we have traded in for generations have made us what we are today, so at the heart of our rebuild plan is our purpose: 'Championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities."
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