Central England Co-op announces half year trading profit of £15.7m

‘This model has worked successfully for over 175 years and has been resilient in good times and bad’

Central England Co-op has announced its interim results for the 28 weeks to 7 August, with trading profit of £15.7m and gross sales of £477.9m.

These figures are down on the same period last year, which saw normal trading patterns distorted as shoppers rushed to stores to stock up for lockdown, and the society has included more comparative figures for 2019 in the results

Gross sales were higher – £487.3m in 2020 – but the society has improved on the 2019 figure of £458.1m. Similarly, trading profit was £19.3m in 2020 and £11.4m in 2019.

The society adds that capital expenditure of £7.7m saw two new food stores and 23 refurbishments during the past six months, with more planned in the coming second half of the year.

Members, colleagues and communities shared a £2.1m dividend pay-out, it added, while 86 causes and charities shared £84,000 from its Community Dividend Fund.

Accolades include being named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK for the third time, and being awarded for the fourth time in a row awarded three Carbon Trust Standards for reducing carbon emissions, waste and water use.

The society continued its partnerships with FareShare Midlands and over 65 local food banks to provide hundreds of thousands of meals for families, and pledged over £350,000 with charity Groundwork to create sustainable spaces on Co-op land for the local community.

Chief executive Debbie Robinson said: “Thank you to our members, for your loyalty and support, and thank you to our valued colleagues across our family of Co-operative businesses for making sure our members and customers in the communities in which we serve could access the food and goods they needed, as well as providing consistently high standards of care for the deceased and support to the bereaved.”

President Jane Avery said: “We have not sat on our laurels and taken it for granted that those who discovered us during the pandemic would remain loyal but have continued to innovate and attract and retain new customers. What we do, the success we have, is done for and on behalf of our members. This model has worked successfully for over 175 years and has been resilient in good times and bad.”