Interim results showcase how we have been leading the way for our members and local communities

Posted by Rob Smyth | 13/10/2020 | Category: Corporate

We have provided an update on our response to the Coronavirus pandemic as part of the publication of our interim results.

The Society has revealed the impact that leading the way for our communities during the Coronavirus outbreak has had on the business.

This comes as we announced strong half year results, to 8 August 2020, and outlined plans to tackle the significant challenges ahead.

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank our colleagues for their heroic efforts during these difficult times and also our Board, our members, our customers and our communities for their support and for working with us during this pandemic to ensure we stay safe and well.”

“Safety has always been our top priority, and we have invested in a number of measures to ensure we have been able to provide a secure environment for our colleagues, members and customers.

"Trading in the first half of 2020 generated sales of £486.4m (2019: £484.6m) and Trading Profit of £19.3m (2019: £11.4m). This has been an incredibly strong performance in the first half of the year which has been driven significantly by our food business.

“While there are significant challenges ahead, we are in a very strong position, with a solid balance sheet and talented people to build a sustainable Society for all.”

Covid-19 update:

  • Provided over 7,000 frontline colleagues with over three million items of PPE, hand sanitiser, protective screens and face coverings
  • Revamped the Society’s Community Dividend Fund to provide urgent financial support to help groups impacted by the pandemic
  • Made major donations to FareShare Midlands and Dementia to ensure their vital work could continue
  • Additional Covid-19 costs totalled £9.3 million, with the Society receiving £5.4 million in government support in the form of business rates relief, property grants and furlough payments for a limited number of colleagues
  • Held first-ever online Members’ Meeting, which was attended by over 1,400 people

Financial highlights include:

  • Gross sales of £486.4 million, up by 6.4% with trading profit of £19.3 million
  • Capital expenditure of £5.5 million saw two new food stores and three refurbishments during the past six months, with more planned in the coming second half of the year
  • Members, colleagues and communities benefited from the success of the Society’s performance by sharing in a £2.1m dividend pay-out 

Community highlights include:

  • 51 good causes and charities shared £81,000 from its Community Dividend Fund
  • Over one million meals distributed to those in need via its food redistribution project with FareShare Midlands
  • Received backing from over 100 MPs from across the political divide in support of ongoing efforts to secure stronger government action to better protect colleagues from threats and violence
  • Carbon footprint reduced to 72% as part of ongoing efforts to minimise its impact on the environment

Future plans:

  • Trialing new technology to make shopping easier such as self-scan checkouts and scan and go
  • Revamping its online presence to utilise new developments such as being able to plan your funeral online
  • Experimenting with new ideas and formats such as rolling out community cafes, with the first opened at Littleover food store, in Derby

Elaine Dean, Society President, said: “We are living through unprecedented times where our co-operative values and principles have shone through more than ever.

The Board is truly grateful to and in awe of our amazing colleagues who have been leading the way with their incredible fortitude and commitment across all parts of the Society.”

We also transferred its travel business to Midcounties Co-operative, maintaining member benefits by continuing to offer travel services as well as offering all impacted colleagues the chance to move across to Midcounties as part of the move or a position in Central England’s food or funeral business.

The full interim report can be viewed here

About The Author: Rob Smyth

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Promoting the great work of Central England Co-operative across all forms of media.