TWO more leading independent retail co-ops have announced encouraging sales over the crucial Christmas period.
Heart of England Society had record sales with total trade up by more than 12 per cent in the five weeks up to January 3, while Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op ? the country's third largest independent ? achieved a total sales growth of over 16 per cent.
The figures are further evidence of the Movement's profitable festive period after the previous encouraging results from United Co-operatives, Midlands Society and Leeds Co-op, as reported on theNews.coop.
At Heart of England, non-food sales in the society's department and specialist stores increased by 15 per cent on the previous year and Chief Executive Richard Samson commented: "These excellent figures will help us firm up the next phase of our extenstive store devlopment programme, which we will be unveiling in the next few months.
"Our overall sales figures have exceeded all expectations," added Mr Samson. "A 12 per cent increase in total society turnover is well in excess of the figures being reported by our larger multiple competitors, many of whom appear to have had a dismal Christmas.
"Once again, our staff have pulled out all the stops to create an excellent shopping experience for our customers and members and I would like to thank them for their hard work and commitment during such a busy period."
At OSG, food sales growth increased by almost seven per cent on the previous year, including the contribution of new stores and the former Alldays outlets acquired from the Co-operative Group.
Bill Laird, the society's General Manager, Retail said: "The like-for-like growth of nearly seven per cent within food was an excellent performance.
"This was especially pleasing as, aside from the success of DVD players and large format TVs, non-food sales within our stores were static year on year. This has meant higher margins and reflects the society's investment in expanding fresh foods and chilled ranges."
Chief Executive Bob Burlton added: "Against a background of increasing competition right across our retail formats, this is an excellent way to finish the year.
"We have been very active with refurbishing and upgrading our estate during the last few years and this level of loyalty and commitment from our customers and members tells us they are pleased with what they are seeing in our stores.
"Our store colleagues are essential to our success and they can all feel justifiably proud that their results this year are comparable to the very best in the sector."