Co-operative Group has welcomed positive quarter four trading results, making significant headway in its turnaround strategy.
From September 21 to December 31 the retailer posted a like-for-like food sales rise of 3.4 per cent, helped by a four per cent increase in like-for-like at its core convenience stores.
The positive results come after a tough few years for the grocery retailer, having come close to complete collapse in 2013 after a £1.5 billion banking deficit.
Its turnaround strategy has been boosted by the revival of its membership scheme, in which members receive a five per cent discount on own-branded items, with a further one per cent going to local causes.
The scheme was scrapped in 2014 due to financial woes, but new chief executive Rufus Olins reintroduced it and gained 400,000 new members in the last four months alone.
The overwhelming success has led to targets been brought ahead a full year, now aiming for one million members by the end of 2017, as opposed to 2018.
“The Co-op is back and our members and our communities are once again at the heart of all we do,” Olins said.
“In looking to grow our membership significantly in 2017, we are in effect looking to grow the Co-op economy, and the very positive impact it can have in communities throughout the UK.”
A fresh membership recruitment drive, aiming to gain another 500,000 new customers and a further 500,000 existing shoppers to the scheme will be spearheaded by a collaborative campaign with director Shane Meadows.
The collaboration will see the This Is England director create a series of short films to be shown in cinemas, focused on the retailer’s support for local causes.