Record sales and profits at The Co-operative Group

March 18, 2010

Preliminary Results for The Co-operative Group for the 51 weeks ended 2nd January, 2010 

Financial highlights 2009  Growth vs 2008
Group sales £13.7bn + 31%
- Trading Group sales  £11.6bn  + 37%
- CFS sales  £2.1bn  + 6%
Underlying Group operating profit before significant items  £473m  + 20%
- Underlying Trading Group Profit 
£338m  + 22%
- Underlying CFS Profit 
£177m  + 21%
Profit before payments to and on behalf of members (equivalent to the pre-tax profits of a plc)  £402m  + 85%
Members’ funds  £4.5bn  + 15%
Dividend paid to customer members  £55m  + 16%
Net borrowings  £1.6bn +£949m

Operational highlights

  • Acquisition of Somerfield to become the UK’s fifth largest food retailer
  • Co-operative Financial Services merger with Britannia creates UK’s first ‘super mutual’
  • Launch of the biggest marketing campaign in Group’s history
  • Continued investment in the brand and transformation of entire estate
  • 65% of the total estate rebranded and modernised
  • 16 successive quarters of like-for-like (LFL) food sales growth
  • LFL food sales up by 5.5% year on year
  • 38% growth in Bank current accounts
  • 30% uplift in life and savings new business premiums
  • Third successive year of double digit growth in Group sales and profit

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Social goals

  • £11.3m invested in communities in 2009
  • £6.7m raised for charity this year
  • Voted Responsible Retailer of the Year – for the third year running
  • CFS voted Best Financial Provider by Which? Magazine
  • Relaunch of The Co-operative Bank’s unique customer-mandated Ethical Policy
  • 250,000 young people benefited from Group community projects covering renewable energy and recycling
  • £5m pledged to support the co-operative enterprise hub
  • CFS Toxic Fuels campaign raising awareness of the impact of tar sands extraction 
  • The Plan Bee campaign raising awareness of honeybee decline, funding research, and encouraging people to help bees and plant bee-friendly wildflowers
  • 15% reduction in packaging target met a year ahead of schedule

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Annual Report and Accounts download

Download the full Annual Report and Accounts 2009 PDF - 6MB

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Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive, comments:

Peter Marks“These are record results in what has been an historic year for The Co-operative Group. Our business has continued to thrive in spite of economic pressure, and I am pleased to report that we are on track with the integration of both Somerfield and Britannia. And, it seems, our business model has never been quite so relevant!

“Whilst we have expanded and evolved as an organisation, we have stayed true to our core principles and we continue to do what we do best: serving customers with excellent products and services, and bringing solid values and trust to the communities in which we operate. 

“Our food business continues to go from strength to strength following the acquisition of Somerfield. We now run almost 3,000 community food stores and we have a store in every single postal area in the UK bar one! Each week, we serve 21 million customers. That means that we are the retailer best placed to deliver great savings to customers, without the need to travel to big superstores. This was exemplified in our Great Deal Locally campaign and over £200m of price cuts and deals over Christmas which helped customers buy what they actually needed.

“Our Financial Services business has continued to flourish in spite of the global recession, taking us closer to our vision of being the UK’s most admired financial services provider. The historic merger of The Co-operative Financial Services and Britannia Building Society has created the most diversified mutual in UK financial services, uniquely positioned to present a member-owned, customer-led and ethically-guided alternative to the shareholder-owned or government-owned model.

“It is no coincidence that our business model is in vogue with the mainstream political parties who see consumer and employee-owned co-operatives as a potential solution to some of the issues faced by the public sector. This is great news and I wholeheartedly welcome it. If these plans are to work, however, they must be underpinned by an unswerving commitment to investing in the people who can deliver the renaissance that public sector services so badly need. Without the right leaders, managers and staff to drive change, and create first class businesses, the benefits of co-operative ownership will be lost.

“I am keen to ensure that the Group plays its part in fostering new forms of co-operative ownership, and where better than within the world of education. We are supporting Co-operative Academies in Manchester and Stoke to help develop the creative talent of tomorrow. This is part of a wider vision of ours to broaden the involvement of parents, pupils, teachers and the community in the provision of education through the establishment of Co-operative Trust Schools which we expect to number 200 by the year end.

“Looking ahead, we expect the economic pressures to continue until the end of this year or the first half of 2011. Sustaining the level of success we have enjoyed over recent years will not be easy. All of our businesses are operating in fiercely competitive markets which will only get tougher, so we will be redoubling our efforts to help our customers by providing even greater value and service.”

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Additional information


  • The Co-operative Group, Martin Henderson (07770 925 959)
  • The Co-operative Group, Russ Brady (07880 784 442)
  • Tulchan Communications, Susanna Voyle/Lucy Legh (020 7353 4200)

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