CO-OP stores up and down the country appear to be in line for a bumper festive season after two of the UK's biggest societies reported record food sales in the run-up to Christmas.
Although figures are not yet available from a number of leading societies, preliminary results from the Co-operative Group and East of England Society – Britain's third biggest independent co-op – pointed to a successful and profitable hoiiday period for the Movement.
Co-operative Trading Group Chief Executive Peter Marks commented: "The early indications are that the enlarged Co-operative Group's food business enjoyed a successful Christmas, with a particularly strong Christmas Eve performance, when sales reached almost £ 24 million – a record figure.
"This year all Co-operative fresh whole turkeys and turkey crowns were British Freedom Food and sales of the higher welfare birds were up 38 per cent. Our extended range of Fairtrade Christmas products also proved popular, whilst sales of own-label mince pies, including premium Truly Irresistible mince pies, were up 25 per cent for the season."
And East of England Chief Executive Richard Samson said that he was delighted with his society's figures which showed that record food sales had been achieved over the six week period to the end of December.
His colleague Roger Grosvenor, General Manager of Trading, added: "Our total food sales have shown growth of more than nine per cent. This represents a significant improvement in our market share during this critical period and maintains the momentum achieved during the rest of the year."
*Further coverage in the next issue of Co-operative News, available from Tuesday January 8th.