A focus on local food has strengthened the annual trading results of two consumer co-operatives.
East of England and Lincolnshire co-operatives have reported positive trading results during 2013, and has attributed the growth of local food as one of the main factors.
In annual results announced this week, East of England reported its first rise in turnover for six years to £342m, while profit before tax and distributions climbed 17% to £6.7m.
The society, which has over 250 trading outlets across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, launched its Sourced Locally range in 2007 with a handful of products that have now expanded to over 2,000 lines from beer to bacon and haddock to heat logs.
Sourced Locally at East of England
“Being an ethical retailer in the grocery sector is tough,” according to Doug Field, executive officer for finance & technology at the co-operative. But last year, the local food lines reported a turnover of £12m, which was a 30% growth on the previous year. The society will continue to expand in this area, added Mr Field.
Half-year results from Lincolnshire Co-op showed a 2.2% increase in sales at its 78 food stores. The Love Local range, which features different products from around the trading area including eggs, jams, crisps and cheese, rose by 11%.
Its own bakery, Gadsby’s, which makes bread and cakes for stores, increased sales by 8%, while sales of local meat, produced by the society’s own butchery in Lincoln, went up by 7%.
Total sales during half year were £142.6m, a rise of 1.3% compared to the same period in the last financial year. Group trading surplus (after member benefits and pension contributions) was £8.9m, up from £8.5m in the same period of the last trading year.