Midcounties half-year profit climbs

Midcounties Co-operative has posted a 34 per cent increase in trading profit to a record £16 million for the first half of the year.

The society saw sales increase in its food stores, pharmacies, travel branches, funeral and childcare businesses, which performed strongly during the tough economic period.

Announcing the half-year results, Chief Executive Ben Reid, put the success down to the society’s long-term investment policy and a growing desire by the public to support responsible retailers: “More people are reassessing their spending habits and placing greater emphasis on the ethical values of service providers. This means our customers are realising the importance of the co-operative way of doing business.

“We are passionate about maintaining and developing our co-operative values, despite the challenging economic conditions, and this is resonating with the general public. This is reflected in our 6.1 per cent increase in sales.”

The figures for the 26 weeks to 24th July showed trading profit up 34 per cent to £16.1m from £12m on 2009, and gross sales reached £375m with an average 1.7m customers visiting its food stores each week.

In the society’s childcare vouchers business sales risen by 21 per cent, while funerals climbed by 7.3 per cent, pharmacy increased by 4.7 per cent and food went up by 6.4 per cent.

Added Mr Reid: “Despite these very promising figures, I can only foresee that 2011 will be another tough year, with all of the predicted public sector cuts underway. Sales growth will be hard to achieve, but that will be our focus, as we push hard to emerge fitter and stronger for the future.”

He was confident that with the continued support of colleagues, members and customers, Midcounties would be able to report another record trading year at its AGM in May 2011.

The society recorded that it actively engaged with more than 10,000 members in the first half of the year through a range of events, most notably those connected with Co-operatives Fortnight.

Throughout the half-year, the society was named as a National Example of Excellence by Business in the Community for its partnership with Sutherland Business and Enterprise College in Telford. 

Midcounties colleagues also gave almost 11,000 volunteering hours to provide practical help to various groups and organisations and £94,000 in funding was given to community projects. As part of its commitment to reduce food miles and support local suppliers, the society also added 141 lines to the society’s Local Harvest range during the period.

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