Co-op revenue smashes £10bn but CEO remains cautious

Co-op COVID-19 trading update Steve Murrells
The Co-op spent £439 million on capital expenditure during 2019
// Co-op revenue rises thanks to strong food sales
// The retailer said its wholesale division was boosted by the Nisa acquisition
// CEO Steve Murrells said the coronavirus pandemic has brought uncertainty to the business

The Co-op has seen its revenue rise thanks to a strong performance in food amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company reported an overall revenue uptick of seven per cent to £10.9 billion in the 52 weeks to January 4.

Revenue in its core grocery retail business rose by three per cent to £7.5 billion, with like-for-like sales up 1.9 per cent, while wholesale like-for-like income rose 1.1 per cent.


The overall result was tempered by a 3.2 per cent decline in the funeralcare and life planning division.

Meanwhile, overall underlying profit before tax went up 50 per cent to £50 million.

The Co-op spent £439 million on capital expenditure during 2019, including £342 million on new outlets, refitted stores and its supply chain.

The wholesale division was boosted by the Nisa acquisition, with added volume as the Co-op sought to increase its buying power.

Despite the increase in revenue, Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said the pandemic has brought uncertainty to the business.

Additional costs associated with the pandemic are expected to run in excess of £200 million, which will be offset by increased food sales and business relief rates.

“The Co-op made further financial progress through 2019, showing that co-operation is working,” Murrells said.

“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.

“Against the backdrop of Covid-19, we will review the strategy we had embedded across our businesses, aligning commercial and community objectives.”

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