// Sales for Central England Co-op fall in its latest half year trading period
// Executives hailed its 19th-century business model for seeing the society through “good times and bad”
Central England Co-op has seen its gross sales decrease by almost £10 million from £487.3 million to £477.9 million year-on-year in the six months to August 7.
However, sales were up compared to the same period in 2019 when the total reached £458.1 million.
Meanwhile, trading profit of £15.7 million was down compared to 2020’s £19.3 million, but up on the £11.4 million achieved in 2019.
Central England Co-op chief executive Debbie Robinson said: “Thank you to our members, for your loyalty and support, and thank you to our valued colleagues across our family of Co-operative businesses for making sure our members and customers in the communities in which we serve could access the food and goods they needed, as well as providing consistently high standards of care for the deceased and support to the bereaved.
“As reported last year, the first half of 2020 showed a dramatic spike in trading performance after the first lock-down in March 2020.
“In order to fully represent our underlying financial performance, we have used financial comparisons from both 2020 and 2019 in this report.”
Central England Co-op operates over 400 food, funeral and floral sites across 16 counties. The business opened two new food stores and refurbished 23 shops in the period.
Members, staff and communities benefited from the success of the society by sharing in a £2.1 million dividend pay-out with 86 charities sharing £84,000 from its Community Dividend Fund.
This was down £200,000 compared to before the pandemic.
Society president Jane Avery said: “Our society has continued to perform well; we have not sat on our laurels and taken it for granted that those who discovered us during the pandemic would remain loyal but have continued to innovate and attract and retain new customers.
“What we do, the success we have, is done for and on behalf of our members. This model has worked successfully for over 175 years and has been resilient in good times and bad.”