Britain's Co-op Sees Profit Fall Following Petrol Forecourt Sale

By Reuters
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Britain's Co-op Sees Profit Fall Following Petrol Forecourt Sale

The Co-operative, which runs Britain's seventh-biggest supermarket chain, has posted a drop in annual pretax profit, following the sale of its petrol forecourt business.

The 180-year-old group, which is owned by its more than 5 million members, ended 2023 with a grocery market share of 5.4%, according to researcher Kantar, down 20 basis points on the year.

Co-op also committed to investing millions of pounds to prevent price rises at the cost of profitability.

Group Performance

The company, which also has funerals, insurance and legal businesses, reported a group profit before tax of £28 million (€32.7 million) for 2023, compared with £268 million (€312.8 million) in the preceding year.

Co-op sold its petrol forecourt estate to supermarket rival Asda for more than £600 million (€699 million) in 2022. Excluding the business, profit was up £79 million (€92.12 million) for the year, it said.


Group revenue dropped by £200 million (€233.5 million) to £11.3 billion (€13.2 billion).

Underlying profit in its food business increased 11% year-on-year, with the group citing enhancements in cost efficiencies, including improvements in availability, waste reduction and optimised stock-holding as key efficiency measures. In addition, online sales continued to rise, as the group expanded its partnership with Just Eat to more than 1,000 stores.

Co-op said that it is aiming to capture 30% of the 'quick convenience' market in the next four years, up from 23% currently.

'Turbulent Landscape'

“Our relentless focus on strengthening our financial position has enabled us to navigate a highly turbulent external landscape, delivering increased value for our member-owners and planning for a future with confidence and with membership firmly back at the heart of our business," commented Shirine Khoury-Haq, chief executive.


"Over the last two years, our net-debt has reduced by 90% from over £900 million, to £82 million today. Whilst markets remain challenging, we are in firmly in control of our Co-op and our destiny."

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM.

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