The Southern Co-operative is celebrating a bumper Christmas trading period following investment in more competitive pricing, improved product ranges and “tailoring the right range to the right store”.
The chain, an independently owned regional co-operative society of around 150 community stores, grew like-for-like sales by 4.7% in the 3 weeks to 3 January.
“These are our best Christmas trading results for some years, reflecting the hard work and enthusiasm of our colleagues across The Southern Co-operative,” said Chief Executive Mark Smith. “Our latest figures build on an improving trend in our sales during the autumn and provide an ideal platform for us to enter 2016 from.”
During the Christmas week itself the retailer served an additional 80,000 customers.
Amongst the ranges offered by the Southern Co-op, fresh food categories enjoyed the biggest like-for-like increase at 10%, with chilled product sales rising 8%. Over the three weeks, total volume of sales jumped by 20% compared to the same period last year.
Similarly, the ‘Local Flavours’ range was increasingly popular, and continued investment saw the category grow by 10%. Other popular products included freshly baked goods and alcohol.
“Our team should be proud to have achieved such strong results in a fiercely competitive market,” Smith continued. “We expect the sector to remain just as competitive throughout 2016, but with the benefit of the enhanced Co-operative Food range4s and our investment in sharper pricing, we expect to continue to deliver core sales growth alongside our ambitious plans for additional new stores in the year ahead.”