Heart of England racks up new Christmas sales record

The society saw overall sales for the two-week period rise by more than 19%

Heart of England Co-op has smashed its own festive food sales record, celebrating its strongest performance to date.

The society recorded a 13.34% increase in like-for-like sales in the two weeks to 4 January, with an overall increase of 19.54%.

The increase comes against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive market which is seeing a sharp decrease in footfall amid fears of the spread of coronavirus, and a change in consumer shopping habits in which people are switching to larger, less frequent shopping trips and more demand for home delivery.

The prolonged threat of a no-deal Brexit also had an effect on the market, said the society, with signs of panic-buying before the deal was reached at the end of December.

Among the society’s star performing stores were Wellesbourne, which recorded a 42% increase, Rotherham Road in Coventry, with a 36% increase, Balsall Common with a 25% increase and Long Itchington and Attleborough, which both recorded 23% increases.

Its newest stores at Hinckley and Hockley Heath also recorded strong performances.

Brussels sprouts came top of the list for the best performing product overall over the two weeks.

Alcohol featured prominently, with up four products – Lanson Black Label, Taylors Port, Les Pioneers Champagne and Baileys – in the top five sellers.

Prosecco, double cream, salmon, bacon and mince pies made up the rest of the top 10.

Steve Browne, general manager of the society’s food division, said the continued programme of store investment, their range of locations and good accessibility, the members’ loyalty scheme and the new one-hour home delivery service had all helped drive the strong performance.

He added: “Christmas was a different event this year with families not being able to celebrate in larger gatherings, and this was reflected in the sales trends.

“As a result there were more individual occasions being planned than normal, but with a smaller number of mouths to feed and therefore more demand for slightly different products such as smaller turkeys.

“We are delighted with our overall performance thanks to the efforts of all our colleagues who have been selfless throughout the pandemic, supporting the communities we serve.

“We also thank all of our loyal members and customers who have continued to support their local co-op throughout.”