British group Co-op has reported strong annual results for 2016, with like for like food sales up by 3.5% and a membership boost of 18%.
The company reported that active membership reached 4 million at year end, with a further 350,000 members recruited so far in 2017. These figures are ahead of forecasted growth. Members now account for 31% of food sales, which is up from 20% before the launch of the new membership scheme.
"We’ve invested in our brand, our businesses and our colleagues and now we can clearly see the benefits", said Allan Leighton, independent non-executive chair of the Co-op. Group chief executive Steve Murrells echoed his sentiments, "we’ve made great progress in rebuilding our Co-op, with all our businesses delivering strong performances."
Co-op Food - The Figures
- Total sales up 1% at £7.1 billion; like-for-like sales up 3.5%
- Operating profit - up 4% to £203m (2015: £196m)
- Underlying operating profit down 2% to £182m (2015: £186m)
The group announced being satisfied with the results and that the drop in underlying operating profit was to be expected with the amount of investment that took place in the fiscal year.
"In 2016, we opened 112 new stores and refitted 155 stores with our latest format. We also rebranded a further 607. We’re focusing on the right size of store to give customers the best convenience shopping experience, and so we sold or closed 141 stores that didn’t fit with this ambition," Murrells explained.
Commitments For The Future
The company also expressed its commitment to selling only British meat by May of this year, making 80% of its packaging recyclable by 2020 and donating £5.5 million to support the efforts of the British Red Cross to reconnect 12,500 people with their communities.
"We will continue to take our existing businesses forward and ensure they are ready for the digital age, but we will also look wider than our current markets. We are exploring how we can enter markets that are not serving people well and challenging existing providers." Murrells concluded.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Gavin Ryan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.