Central England Co-operative half year results show strong financial performance and growth

Central England Co-operative can today announce details of a strong financial performance and continued investment in the first half of 2018.

The Society’s sales grew by 3.6% to £476.9 million despite operating in a highly competitive and changing trading environment. Trading profit rose by £1m to £12.9m.

The ambitious growth strategy of the business is reflected in its investment of £12.4 million in the first half of the year, which included the opening of six new Food Stores, one new Funeral Home and two New Funeral Booking Offices alongside the renovation of a further over 30 other sites.

This has seen the core food business and funeral arm of the Society grow significantly, with further new openings and refurbishments planned for the second half of the year and on into 2019.

Highlights include:

  • Gross sales of £476.9 million, a rise of 3.6 % on the previous year
  • Trading profit of £12.9m, up 1m (8.4%)
  • Capital expenditure of £12.4 million
  • Strong cash generation of £26.2 million, up from £24.6 million in 2017
  • £2.3 million distributed to members, colleagues and the community
  • Six new Food Stores, one Funeral Home and two new Funeral Booking Offices opened and a further 32 refitted as part of a major, on-going refurbishment programme
  • Eighty groups shared nearly £90,000 from the Society’s Community Dividend Fund
  • Over £800,000 raised in the first 12 months of link up with Society corporate charity partner Dementia UK
  • Pioneering and industry-leading scheme to redistribute food to local good causes rolled out across all Food Stores

Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said: “We have had an encouraging first half of the year, reflecting the hard work of our colleagues and continued focus across the Society in providing great service and products to our members and customers.

“Our performance so far in 2018 has again demonstrated the Society’s resilience as a strong and successful independent co-operative business.

“However, our resilience continues to be tested by tough trading conditions which we expect to remain challenging and highly competitive for the foreseeable future.

“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 to our members, customers and local communities.”

The food retail arm of the business enjoyed a good performance, with like-for-like sales in convenience stores outperforming the market. These figures included exceptional trading during the harsh winter and hot summer.

The Society’s funeral operations had a strong first half of 2018 with the business continuing to help families say goodbye to their loved ones with high levels of support, professionalism and customer service. The first six months of the year has also seen the opening of new sites and the continued effort to pioneer new ideas with the launch of convenient Funeral Booking Offices.

The Society’s 20 Travel shops have enjoyed success in the niche holiday market. An expansion of the Travel business has also been announced, with the Society taking on six Travel Shops previously operated by Thomas Cook.

Efforts to grow and expand have continued apace with the opening of six new Food Stores, one new Funeral Home and two new Funeral Booking Offices, with more openings and refurbishments planned for the second half of the year and throughout 2019.

As a responsible business, Central England Co-operative is proud to have launched a variety of initiatives to benefit communities and the environment.   These have included continuing to champion the importance of positive mental health and diversity and inclusion.

The Society has also reduced its carbon footprint by 48% and also announced the roll-out of a pioneering food redistribution project across all its Food Stores that will support over 250 local charities in partnership with FareShare East Midlands.

Central England Co-operative will report on its full year performance at the end of January 2019.

 

Notes to editors

 

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 2018.

 

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 members 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.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing members@centralengland.coop or visiting https://www.members.coop

 

For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative

 

Rob Smyth at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140

 

Email –publicrelations@centralengland.coop



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