Co-op delivers sixth year of like-for-like food revenue growth

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The Co-op has reported total revenues up 7% to £10.9bn in the 52 weeks to 4 January 2020. Revenue in food rose 3% to £7.5bn with like-for-like sales up 1.9%; representing six years of like-for-like food revenue growth.

During the year, the Co-op opened 79 new stores, refitted 152 stores and extended 10.

Household penetration increased by 133,000 on the previous year, according to Kantar total grocery data for the 52 weeks to the end of 2019.

Positivity towards Co-op Food rose too: up 3% in 2019 compared to 2018 with the retailer increasingly known for championing important issues and being involved in community. The Co-op launched 554 new products during the year and improved more than 1,000 existing product lines, including the award-winning Irresistible pizza range and the rollout of GRO vegan range, which is set to be expanded in 2020.

Home delivery options, trialed during the year, will also be extended, the retailer reports. Online same-day services have been made available across almost 100 towns and cities, served by 650 Co-op stores and with delivery options including Deliveroo.

The Co-op reported its Nisa acquisition continued to deliver volume growth for the wholesale business with sales of £1.4bn (£1bn for eight months), successfully delivering against its strategy of increasing Co-op buying power and achieving wider distribution of Co-op own-brand products into more communities.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op, said: “The Co-op made further financial progress through 2019, showing that co-operation is working. While we didn’t know it at the time, that performance set us up well to withstand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and to enable us to support the communities we operate in.

“No part of our business has been unaffected by the outbreak of the virus and we have played a critical role in communities throughout the UK. Our Food business has helped to feed the nation and our Funeral colleagues have been there for families at their time of greatest need. All of this work will continue and I could not be more proud of our people who have delivered – day in, day out.

“Co-operation is something that is central not just to our business model, but to everything that we do and we are committed to continue to deliver against our vision of Co-operating for a Fairer World. Against the backdrop of COVID-19 we will review the strategy we had embedded across our businesses, aligning commercial and community objectives. Our responsibility as a co-op is to ensure that through our businesses, our wider influence is used to make the communities in which we operate feel stronger and more connected. That drives the business decisions we make – not profit alone and not shareholder value. The importance of that has never been so stark and we will continue to play our part for as long as we need to.”

Allan Leighton, independent non-executive chair of the Co-op, said: “The Co-op is drawing deeply on our values of commercial responsibility and community concern to play our part in responding to COVID-19. Our commitment is to do all we can to help our members, customers and colleagues through the weeks and months ahead. It is already clear that COVID-19 will have profound consequences for the UK and global economy and our Co-op members and customers will not be immune.

“Against that backdrop, our results for last year show that we are in a strong position to keep playing our part. At the Co-op, however, we measure our success differently. Strengthening and sustaining our local communities is fundamental to us and in 2019 we gave £17m to more than 4,400 local causes.

“Looking ahead, we believe that co-operative business endeavours and co-operative ways of working will be needed in the future even more than they were in the past.”