East of England Co-op reduces trading losses by £1.6m

The retailer is “on track to return to profit,” says CEO

East of England Co-op has announced its annual results for the year to 27 January, with an underlying trading loss of £4m. This is a  £1.6m improvement on last year, with the retailer seeing a 5% increase in turnover to £395m.

The society has recently faced challenges present across the sector, including rises in energy costs and an increase in the National Living Wage. But it saw a boost in sales across its good, travel and petrol stations, and says this, along with “strong cost control”, has helped reduce trading losses this year. 

“We’re making progress towards a stronger future,” said CEO Doug Field. ‘Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year our plan to return to profitability, focusing on the fundamentals, is working. We’ve reduced our trading losses by more than 25% and are on track to return to profit.”

The retailer opened three new food stores in 2023, and has also invested in its online offerings, launching an online shopping platform and app, making it the first co-op food retailer in the UK with its own shopping app.

East of England also announced a new partnership with delivery service, Just Eat, at the end of last year. The service has been rolled out to 77 of its stores across East Anglia.

In a bid to reduce energy costs and emissions, the co-op is continuing to implement energy-efficient technology, and is trialling reducing the hours of refrigeration of beers, wines and spirits in its stores.

East of England provided grants to over 50 local groups and good causes last year, as well as donating a further £50,000 to local foodbanks over the winter period.

The retailer has also welcomed new legislation proposed by government to make abuse to shop workers a standalone criminal offence, and highlighted a number of measures they are taking to improve colleague safety, including body worn cameras and communication headsets for shop workers.

“As a regional co-operative, our purpose is to strengthen and serve our communities across Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire,” said society president Frank Moxon. “As the cost of living crisis wears on, so does its effect on those living and working in our region. It’s vital that we do all that we can to support our communities through the challenges that we continue to face.”