Midcounties Co-operative, the largest independent co-operative society in the UK, is now generating over a billion pounds of gross sales annually.
According to the society’s half-year report, its sales have grown by 36 per cent to £593m, achieving an operating profit of £12m in the six months to 27 July 2013.
The co-operative’s childcare, energy and travel trading groups have performed particularly well. The travel business increased sales by 97 per cent to £142m. The society will continue to invest in its travel business, which now operates 60 shops and has a network of 80 home-based travel agents providing advice to customers.
Midcounties’ food business has also increased sales by nearly eight per cent to £310m across its 240 stores. The rise in sales was the result of a sustained acquisition and growth strategy. The society acquired six new stores from the Harry Tuffins business in May last year.
Midcounties’ childcare business also increased revenues by 20 per cent. The Society’s other trading groups, which include Pharmacy, Funeral, Flexible Benefits and Post Office, have also contributed to achieving sales record. The energy-trading group has seen a 172 per cent growth in customer numbers from 52,000 in 2012 to 142,000 in 2013. Moreover, gross sales for Co-operative Energy have increased to £75m and the business has moved into profit for the first time.
Ben Reid, Chief Executive of Midcounties said: "Our half year results demonstrate the strength of the Midcounties Co-operative as a diversified, customer-focused, member-owned society."
Mr Reid added the society as had focused on investing in areas that would deliver long-term value for their members, such as the energy sector.
"Our focus will be to build on our excellent performance in the first half of the year and further strengthen the society in our core markets through investment, the hard work and dedication of our colleagues and maintaining the core values that drive our co-operative approach to business," he said.
Patrick Gray, President of Midcounties, added: "We need to continue to generate profits successfully month by month. And, without overreaching ourselves, we also need to adapt flexibly and creatively to new opportunities and so build a strong foundation for a sustainable future for our Society.
"The figures presented in this report show that we have made good progress on both these scores over the past half year".