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Co-op Food delivers 'robust' performance as full-year sales and profits rise

Co-operative Food has delivered a “robust” performance in the tough grocery market, posting increases in both like-for-likes and profits.

According to Retail Week, Co-op Food underlying profits increased 1.5% to £251m in the year to January 3. Overall like-or-likes were up 0.4% and up 3.2% in the ‘core convenience’ stores.

Co-op Food, the group’s largest business, said it “continued the implementation of the True North strategy, focused on the convenience market”.

The grocer acquired 82 convenience stores and refurbished more than 700 stores in the year. It lowered prices across 40 categories and invested in own-brand product.

As the Co-op Group concludes its ‘rescue’ phase, it will now implement its rebuild plan, said chief executive Richard Pennycook. That three-year plan will include acquiring a further 100 convenience stores and refurbishing 255.

The retailer said it expects the food market to “remain competitive” but has developed a “comprehensive plan” to improve the commercial performance of Food.

Co-op Food said it will focus on better serving its customers by investing in price, product and people “by further improving our operational efficiency and cost base”.

Group revenue slipped to £9.4bn from £9.7bn last year while group underlying operating profit slipped to £172m from £177m, as a good performance in food offset losses in insurance. It also benefited from disposing of its Farms and Pharmacy businesses. Pennycook said without that, Co-op Group would have “at best broken even”.

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