A record day for Midlands

Britain’s leading independent retail societies all saw food sales rise significantly over the crucial Christmas and New Year period.

Midlands Co-op, the UK’s biggest regional society, had its highest ever sales day on Wednesday December 23rd and saw overall sales over the festive period increase by 7.5 per cent.

Chief Executive John Fitzgerald said own-label fresh turkey crowns reared to RSPCA-approved Elmwood standards proved particularly popular, while sales of Truly Irresistible mince pies beat all previous records, with most stores selling out by Christmas Eve.

Midcounties Co-operative, the country’s second largest independent, saw like for like food sales over  the festive period increase by 6.73 per cent over the three weeks to January 2nd.

The society says that with food inflation at 3.7 per cent, this indicates a true like for like growth in its market share. This result continues the ongoing trend of strong growth with a 4.85 per cent increase in like for like sales over the 13 weeks to January 3rd.

Chief Executive Ben Reid commented: “This is another positive trading performance in our food business which shows how well we are serving the communities in our heartlands. The continuous improvement in our range of quality products and a strong promotional package to give better value for money has shown we can compete with the major players.

“These are challenging times and it is more important than ever for retailers to connect with customers and we are delighted that an increasing number of people are clearly choosing a locally-owned business which invests in the communities it serves.”

East of England, the country’s third largest independent co-op, said like for like food sales for the three weeks to January 3rd also rose by over three per cent, though Chief Executive Richard Samson pointed out that the society was starting from a strong base as the 2008/09 festive period had also been very successful.

The society’s travel business also did well over the festive season and achieved a 38 per cent increase in sales on the previous Christmas and New Year break — proof, says Mr Samson, that customers are keen to escape the gloom of the British weather for a while.

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