Retail co-operatives have reported increases in sales over the Christmas period.
Southern Co-operative saw a total sales increase of 5.4% (4.7% like-for-like) across the three weeks to 3 January.
During the Christmas week itself, like-for-like sales grew by 7.7% across its store estate, serving some 80,000 additional customers.
Chief executive Mark Smith said: “These are our best Christmas trading results for some years, reflecting the hard work and enthusiasm of our colleagues across The Southern Co-operative. Our latest figures build on an improving trend in our sales during the autumn and provide an ideal platform for us to enter 2016 from.”
The fresh food categories saw the best like-for-like performance with fruit and vegetable sales up 10%, where total volumes rose by 22% year-on-year over the three week period. Chilled product sales grew by 8% like-for-like.
Southern continued development of its ‘Local Flavours’ range of locally sourced products and saw the category grow by 10%. Other strong performers included in-store bakery products (growing by 9% in like-for-like sales) and the popularity of Christmas tipples drove an increase in beers, wines and spirits sales of over 10% like-for-like.
For the two weeks leading up to 18 December, Lincolnshire Co-op reported its biggest ever combined sales of £7m, which was a like-for-like growth of 3.7%.
The society’s Gadsby’s bakery produced 57,000 mince pies and, on Christmas Eve, despatched a record 119,000 bread rolls.
Chief retail officer Mark Finn said: “We’re pleased with our performance over the festive season thanks to our focus on service, strong offers and the hard work of our team.
“At the beginning of December, we also paid out the annual dividend bonus which, for 2015, was £1.56m. Many of our members decided to redeem this with us over Christmas.”
East of England Co-operative reported an increased turnover of 2.4% (3.4% like-for-like) for the three weeks ending on 2 January.
The increase came from additional opening hours on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Plus, for the first time, staff received a 15% discount during the period. Fuel sales were up by 12% and eye tests increased by 54%.
Co-operative Prosecco sales increased 27% and a £10 frozen meal deal sold out in a matter of days (38% of allocation sold on first day). The society’s Sourced Locally mince pies from Leggs Bakery saw sales increase by 19%.
Christmas Eve top sellers were mince pies, Prosecco, cucumbers and cream. While Boxing Day sales consisted of bacon, sausages, eggs, batteries and pet food.
Nationally, top sellers at the Co-operative Group’s food stores were carrots, Prosecco and sprouts.
Over 425,000 bottles of Prosecco were sold over the period, a 1.4% increase, while more than one million packs of carrots, sprouts and parsnips were sold.
Mince pie sales were up 37%, while there were also rises in speciality cheese sales with Wensleydale & Cranberry up 48% and Garlic Roule 50% higher.
Steve Murrells, retail chief executive at the Group, said: “We witnessed a strong trading performance across the key festive trading weeks and it’s clear from our sales data that convenience shopping was in the ascendency this Christmas with more customers opting to shop little and often. Millions of shoppers visited us during the key trading period with Christmas Eve being the biggest sales day of the year, despite the heavy rainfall in a number of our key locations.
“For many, the top-up shop was a must for those little extras, party food purchases and forgotten essentials. Key best-selling lines included mince pies and Prosecco and we also had great success with our sprouts, carrots and parsnips offer this Christmas, following the launch of our ‘Fresh Three’ price promotion.”
In this article
- Boxing Day
- Chief retail officer
- Christmas and holiday season
- CO-OPERATIVE Group
- Gadsbys bakery
- Leggs Bakery
- Mark Finn
- Mark Smith
- Mince pie
- New Year's Day
- retail co-operatives
- Steve Murrells
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Food
- The Co-operative Group
- United Kingdom