Co-op H1 sales surge 8.8% but profits dented by Covid costs

Grocery chain Co-op saw has revealed that like-for-like sales for the six months of the year increased by 8.8% as the coronavirus pandemic increased demand for consumers shopping closer to home.

For the first half of the year ending 24 July, revenues at the retailer also increased by 7.6% to £5.8bn, which it said was driven by “exceptional” food and wholesale performances.

It also reported that Nisa wholesale revenues increased 13.9% to £801m (2019: £703m), benefitting from local shopping in lockdown and range improvements under Co-op ownership

Group profit before tax also increased 35% to £27m up from £20m in 2019. However, Co-op revealed the group took a hit of £54m in coronavirus-related costs, which was attributed to additional store workers being recruited and the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for those working in shops.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op, said: “Being a Co-op has never felt more meaningful and right.

“The role of business in society is changing and we are proud to lead the way. Everything we are doing points to a Co-op in tune with the communities in which it operates, one which is determined to innovate and drive change for the benefit of our members and the places where they live and work.”

He added: “The coming months and years remain uncertain, and we know our own Co-op will not be immune to the pressures the recession brings to family budgets and to local and national economies. We will continue to invest within our core businesses to ensure that our Co-op value resonates within Co-op households and local communities.”

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