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Co-op profits rise as membership increases by 1.2 million

Co-operative has reported a 25% increase in underlying profit before tax, improving business performance.

The retailer reported profits before tax of £72m, in contrast to a loss of £132m in 2016.

Revenues remained stable at £9.5bn with like-for-like food sales increasing by 3.4%.

Active membership increased by 15% to 4.6 million with the total joining figure since member relaunch increased to 1.2 million.

There was a 60% increase in apprenticeships year-on- ear with 742 new apprentices recruited.

The company has invested £50m to reduce prices, which it announced in January 2018, with further pricing reductions planned.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op, said: “Today’s results show how much progress we have made. All our businesses have performed well and we have increased profits and reduced debt, while continuing to invest for colleagues, members and customers.

“The success we are enjoying shows that the Co-op’s difference really resonates today – a different ownership model and a different approach to business, based on returning profits to our members and their communities.

“We know there are challenges ahead, but we are confident that with the support of our colleagues and our members, the strength of our brand and continued investment in our businesses we will achieve our goals.”

Allan Leighton, independent non-executive chair of the Co-op, said: “With profits up 25%, debt down and membership up by more than 1.2 million since we launched our new scheme, we are stronger than ever before and ready to create a new, modern Co-op that is fit for the future. As we do that, we will remain true to our social purpose and continue to make the right decisions and campaign on the big issues where business really should have a voice.

“It is vital that our Co-op continues to innovate and be relevant to meet the changing needs of our stakeholders. The plans we have in place to do this are rightly challenging. We have much to do, but we are confident in our ability to deliver our ambition and create an even stronger Co-op.”

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