Central England Co-operative has announced its year end results, to 27 January 2018. Gross sales and operating profit were up compared to the previous year despite the Society operating in “a challenging and highly competitive trading environment.”
Growth at the member-owned co-operative business has been driven by continued strong sales across its convenience store estate and long-term investment in expanding the food and funeral arms of Society.
Central England Co-operative was also rewarded for its work based around community, environment, marketplace and workplace by earning a five star rating in the Business in the Community CR Index.
Operating profit has risen by £5.3m to £16.6m, with seven new food stores and nine new funeral homes opened.
Chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: “We achieved a very encouraging and robust performance in 2017 from both a financial and non-financial perspective, underlining our strength as a modern, progressive, co-operative business.
“Trading conditions remained very challenging and highly competitive throughout the year in all markets in which the Society operates.
“Our encouraging trading performance in 2017 demonstrated our resilience as a strong and successful independent co-operative business to compete in an intensely competitive environment.
“We remain confident in our strategy and our co-operative point of difference to deliver sustainable business growth and provide a relevant and attractive proposition for our members, customers and local communities.”
Central England Co-operative enjoyed another positive performance from its retail food business, with continued increasing sales in convenience stores and strong sales during Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Seven new food stores were opened on the back of a long-term investment plan, alongside work to refurbish 30 other stores including three in Wooldale, West Yorkshire, after Wooldale Co-operative became part of the Society.