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 were not available from a number of leading societies when the News went to press, results from the Co-operative Group and East of England Society — Britain’s third biggest independent co-op — pointed to a successful and profitable holiday period for the Movement.
Co-operative Trading Group Chief Executive Peter Marks told the News: “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 commented: “My society colleagues have done a fantastic job over this busy period, producing record food sales across our portfolio of 135 supermarkets and convenience stores.”
Group General Manager of Trading, Roger Grosvenor, said: “Over the six week period to the end of December, our total food sales across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex 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. Like for like sales over the six weeks showed a 2.4 per cent increase over 2006, which is a very pleasing result, especially with shoppers leaving their final Christmas food purchases later than ever”.
Added Mr Samson: “We are delighted with these figures. I would like to thank Roger, his team and all my colleagues for the massive effort put in and enthusiasm shown in looking after our customers so well during the frenetic festive season.”
Meanwhile the Co-op Group has also reported increased sales from the society’s online electrical retail business, E-store, and the enlarged Co-operative Travel organisation.
Said Mr Marks: “E-store achieved record-breaking sales. In the two weeks prior to Christmas, they were up 110 per cent on the previous year and the record for daily sales was broken three times successively during the period. Flat screen televisions and small domestic appliances sold particularly well.
“Travel’s post-Christmas campaign is now fully underway with some great offers for early bookers. We are also back on TV after an absence of two years and the reaction so far has been very positive, with particular demand created for the thousands of £139 per person holidays to Greece that have been secured for this campaign.”