// The Co-op profits rise thanks to “exceptional food and wholesale performances”
// The food retail business increased its sales by 5.2% to £3.9bn in the first half of its financial year
The Co-op has seen profits rise amid the Covid-19 pandemic as customers increasingly shopped in stores.
The convenience and grocery chain reported a sales rise of 7.6 per cent in its first half, thanks to “exceptional food and wholesale performances”.
The retailer’s underlying operating profit doubled to £121 million, while costs rose as the retailer adopted measures to trade through the pandemic.
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Co-op has reported that its food retail business saw sales increase by 5.2 per cent to £3.9 billion in the first half of the financial year.
The uplift came after like-for-like sales rose by 9.9 per cent in the retailer’s second quarter.
Meanwhile, underlying profit increased by 46 per cent to £175 million in the six month period which ended on July 4.
The Co-op said it benefited from more people shopping locally closer to home during the Covid-19 crisis.
At least 1.7 million new households shopped at Co-op in the period with the average basket size doubling as customers reduced visits.
“We are living in unprecedented times, but the response of our Co-op has been exceptional and I’m immensely proud of my 60,000 colleagues who’ve helped to feed and care for the nation during this difficult period,” Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said.
“We’ve shown how our co-operative approach to doing business provides enhanced value for our customer-members and the communities in which they live.
“At a time of crisis, our country needs a strong and progressive Co-op and these results evidence that we are ready to deliver even more for our key stakeholders.
“We have already resumed our store opening programme and have made a commitment to invest £130 million in opening 50 stores, giving 15 stores significant extensions, and giving 100 further outlets major makeovers, creating 1,000 jobs before the end of the year.”
Earlier this month, Co-op made plans to launch more than three stores a week until December to serve new neighbourhoods as part of major expansion scheme.
The plans will create up to 1000 jobs, which is in addition to the 1000 permanent roles that came from temporary jobs created during lockdown.