Swedish retailer Coop Sweden (Coop Sverige) has seen a rise of SEK 70m in operating profit before exceptional items to SEK 236m (£21.57).
Operating profit was up by SEK 40m (£3.66m) to SEK 172m (£15.72m). But the co-op’s annual results for 2016 also show a decrease in sales by 4.3% to SEK 16.4bn (£1.54bn).
The retailer, a subsidiary of the Swedish Co-operative Union (Kooperativa Förbundet), attributed the drop to the closure of stores, a reduced non-food range and the transition periods required for the revamp of a number of stores to new concepts.
Throughout 2016 the retailer converted 53 stores to its new store formats, Stora Coop, Coop and Lilla Coop, which helped boost sales. Online sales also increased by 51% in a market that has seen a 30% increase.
Coop Sweden runs around 655 co-op stores across Sweden, which are owned by 3.4m members in 31 consumer associations.
President and chief executive Sonat Burman-Olsson said: “It feels very satisfying that we now for the second year in a row deliver very strong earnings and a sharp increase in our profits. Our hard work to convert Coop Sweden has paid off. I dare say that we have never been in better shape.
“The profit growth of 42% based on that we sharpened our store concept and our customer offering and strengthened our store margins. This has been out of the 241 stores Coop Sweden runs.
“Through improvements and efficiency, we have created substantial value for the consumer cooperatives that operate the remaining 414 stores around the country.”