Britain's Co-operative Group said the economic headwinds facing its customers looked stark as it reported full-year pretax profit of £57 million (€68.3 million), up £33 million (€39.6 million) on the level in 2019 before the pandemic.
The group, which is owned by its members, operates Britain's seventh largest supermarket chain as well as funeral, insurance, legal and energy services.
"The economic headwinds look stark and will be tricky to navigate but through our continued planned strategic investments, our Co-op is well placed to ride out the storm and prosper beyond," chair Allan Leighton said on Thursday.
Total group revenue increased by £0.3 billion to £11.2 billion (€13.4 billion) compared with pre-pandemic levels of £10.9billion in 2019.
Compared with 2020, group revenue was down slightly due to supply chain disruptions and the transition to an increasingly multichannel offer.
Underlying operating amounted to £100 million (€119.9 million), down from £173 million (€207.4 million) in 2019 and £235 million (€281.7 million) in 2020. The company attributed this decline to increased investment in employees and businesses and supply chain disruptions in the second half of 2021.
Shirine Khoury-Haq, interim chief executive of Co-op said, “The last year has seen us facing some significant challenges, including significant supply chain issues in the second half coming at the same time as our food business transformation and increasing inflationary pressures.
“The difficult operating environment disproportionately impacted our food business, given its focus on the community convenience market, with an operating model that is more reliant on flexibility in the supply chain.”
News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM – your source for the latest retail news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.