Central England Co-op half year results show rise in sales despite challenging retail market
Central England Co-op today publishes its results for the first half of 2019, with sales increasing in the face of a highly competitive retail and economic environment.
Sales grew at the Society by £7.7 million to £484.6 million thanks to new stores and an expanded Travel Shop network.
Central England Co-op’s efforts to invest in its future resulted in the opening of four new Food Stores and one Funeral Booking Office alongside the refurbishment of nine other sites. Further investment in new sites and refits are planned for the second half of the year and on into 2020.
The Society’s ethos as a member-owned community retail was reflected by 60 groups and good causes sharing £90,000 as part of its Community Dividend Fund and £2.3 million being distributed to members, colleagues and the wider community.
Half-year highlights include:
- Gross sales of £484.6 million, a rise of 1.6 % on the previous year
- Trading profit of £11.4m
- Capital expenditure of £10.7 million
- Strong cash generation of £25.3 million
- Pioneering and industry-leading scheme to redistribute food to local good saw the retailer, as part of its link-up with FareShare East Midlands, donate the equivalent of over 1.6 million meals to people in need
- The rollout of a raft of new security measures in Food Stores has seen burglaries drop by 6% and robberies drop by 30%
Chief Executive Debbie Robinson said: “In a challenging market, our gross sales increased and trading profit is in line with budget, reflecting a steady performance for the Society in the face of a highly competitive retail environment and uncertain economic backdrop.
“We remain committed to investing in our future and have opened new stores and a Funeral Booking Office alongside refurbishing several other sites.
“In difficult times, I believe our co-operative difference will set us apart and see us thrive while others may flounder.
“Together we will grow and prosper by embracing our values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.”
The retailer confirmed it has plans in place to attempt to mitigate any potential impact on customers and members as a result of Brexit.
Society President Elaine Dean said: “So far this year we have seen the arrival of our new Chief Executive, Debbie Robinson, following the retirement of her predecessor, Martyn Cheatle.
“Debbie joined us in March and really hit the ground running from day one – you may already have spotted the many changes taking place as Debbie drives us forward as a community retailer.
“Despite facing difficult trading conditions, our Society is holding its own in a competitive and challenging market.
“The Board has commenced a detailed review of our strategy with the aim of confirming our ambition to be the best UK co-operative and to be a leader in the movement when it comes to good practice.”
Central England Co-operative will report on its full year performance at the end of January 2020.
Notes to editors
Picture caption: Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive
Below is a detailed breakdown of our investment other the past six months:
New Food Stores: Nottingham, Sawston, Stafford and Stowupland
Revamped Food Stores: Bentley Heath, Ripley, Spies Lane (Halesowen), Terrington St Clement and Wells-next-the-Sea
New Funeral Booking Office: Lowestoft
Revamped Funeral Homes: Birmingham, Derby, Leicester and Loughborough
About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK.
It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.
Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2019.
Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility. It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence. The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.
Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to member activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.
For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative
Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390