The Co-operative enjoys strong quarter as strategy delivers

January 08, 2014

The Co-operative Group, the UK’s leading community retailer, today reports a strong performance in its Food business over the Christmas and New Year period, driven by the success of the strategy to strengthen its core convenience offer.

In the 13 weeks to 4 January 2014, like-for-like sales grew by 1.0 per cent on the corresponding period last year (2013: 0.3 per cent). Growth was fuelled by the Group’s convenience stores which delivered like-for-like sales growth over the period of 3.2 per cent.

Sales in the three weeks to 4 January were particularly strong; like-for-like sales for the total estate grew by 3.5 per cent (2013: 2.2 per cent), with the core convenience stores reporting like-for-like growth of 5.4 per cent.

Total Food sales over the 13 weeks were flat at £1,697.9m (£1,695.4m), reflecting the disposal of larger non-core stores during the period, in line with the Group’s focus on strengthening its position as the UK’s leading convenience retailer.

The Group also enjoyed a strong performance in its online Electrical business, with sales up 28.2 per cent in the 13 weeks. In Pharmacy, sales were up 1 per cent over the same period.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive, Retail, The Co-operative Group, said:

“These results are a reflection of all our efforts to improve the customer offer and show the value of our strategic focus on convenience retailing. We are now delivering better products, at better prices, in better shops. With household budgets under pressure, customers want affordable, quality products delivered locally by colleagues who are really engaged and that is what we are delivering. We still have much to do, but these trading figures give us real encouragement.

“Looking ahead, we believe that our core convenience stores should continue their strong performance. Through the rest of the year we will continue to further develop our food strategy and customer offer around the core convenience estate, where we have a leading market presence and position.”

Euan Sutherland, Group Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group, said:

“These strong sales figures from our Food business are very encouraging, reflecting the loyalty of our customers and the hard work of all our colleagues in the Group, while The Co-operative Bank was in the headlines. The recapitalisation of the Bank at the end of last year represented an important milestone and now we can see that the foundations of the wider Group, through its trading businesses, remain strong. There is still a huge amount to be done across the Group and I remain convinced of the great potential to be realised for customers and members."

As part of the wider strategic review currently underway, the Group is reviewing its approach to financial reporting to ensure it is communicating its performance in the most appropriate ways to all stakeholders. The conclusion of this work will be shared later in the year.

For further information contact:

The Co-operative Group

Russ Brady
Patrick Tooher
Tel: 07880 784442 / 07831 314671

Tulchan Communications

Susanna Voyle
Jonathan Sibun
Tel: 020 7353 4200