Co-op’s food arm grows to £120m in “fiercely competitive market”

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Co-op
Co-op said it is continuing to "plan and prepare the best it can" in the case of a no-deal Brexit
// Co-op food’s underlying operating profits rose 50% to £120 million in half-year results
// The results mark the grocer’s 22nd consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth in food
// Total sales went up by 3%, while like-for-like sales increased by 1.7%

The Co-op has posted a strong first-half performance in its food division, with underlying operating profits rising 50 per cent to £120 million.

This marked its 22nd consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth in food.

Total sales went up by three per cent, while like-for-like sales increased by 1.7 per cent.

The food retail business attributed the sales growth to its extended online food delivery trials in London using zero emission electric cargo bikes and by partnering with Deliveroo.

“Our food business continued to perform well in a fiercely competitive market,” Co-op said in its trading update.

“We have the highest shopper frequency in the market as customers regularly visit their Co-op – our 1.7 per cent growth in like-for-like sales was a particularly strong performance, given outstanding sales last year on the back of the FIFA World Cup.

“We had a successful Easter bank holiday, driven by a competitive offer and helped by the warm weather, and our summer saver deals have also proved popular.

“In our wholesale operation 90 per cent of Nisa partners have now taken lines from across Co-op’s own brand products, which are now generating weekly sales in excess of £2.5 million.

“We will continue to innovate and invest further within our food business to maintain the competitive advantage within the convenience sector.”

Co-op established six franchise stores: three Costcutter-owned stores and three on university campuses during the period.

“We’ve enjoyed another good six months where the strength of our business has led to a further £35 million of value being generated for our members and their communities,” Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said.

Co-op chairman Allan Leighton said: “We have made further progress during the first six months of this year and the strength of our business can be seen by our underlying financial position and through the increasing impact we’re having in local communities.”

As Brexit nears, Co-op said it was continuing to plan and prepare the best it can.

“In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit there is an increased risk of some disruption to our supply chain, however we will do all we can to protect our customers and members from this impact.”

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