THE Co-operative Group has announced that its pre-tax profits in the first half of its financial year increased strongly to £ 157 million – a rise of 32 %.
The Group's interim report shows that in the six months to 29 July, the society's two biggest businesses both produced strong performances. Food Retail delivered on the recovery plan implemented last year with profits rising by 32% to £ 55.1m, while Co-operative Insurance Services (CIS) also showed a strong improvement in profitability, up by 85% to £ 17m.
Group sales for the period, before reinsurance premiums, were £ 4bn, up 3.2%, and operating profit after significant items rose by 12.5% to £ 181.5m – an increase of £ 20m.
Group Chief Executive Martin Beaumont commented: "We have achieved a great deal over the last couple of years and it is tremendously rewarding to see the foundations we have been putting in place start to deliver results.
"Food Retail has turned its performance around with like-for-like sales up 3.3% and progressively strengthening during the half year. Our convenience stores have been running well ahead of the market place at seven per cent.
"There have been solid performances too in many of our businesses, particularly CIS, Pharmacy, Funeralcare, Property and Farmcare, although Travelcare and the Co-operative Bank have been impacted by difficult market conditions."
*Full report in the next edition of Co-operative News available from Tuesday October 3rd.