Strong first half for Central England Co-op
The Staffordshire-based Central England Co-op has unveiled strong financial results for the first half of the year.
Across its 400 stores is saw sales rise 2.6 per cent to £460.2 million. Trading profit of £11.9m was better than expected but still £1m less than at the same point last year due to improved staff pay and other costs.
The Co-op also distributed £2.6m among its members, workforce and the community
Based in Lichfield, the Central England Co-op employs 8,000 people across a region stretching from Norfolk to Worcestershire, Bedfordshire up to Yorkshire, including the West Midlands and Staffordshire.
This includes branches in Dudley, West Bromwich, Oldbury, Burntwood, Great Barr, Stafford and Rugeley.
It opened five new food stores and four funeral homes, refitting a further 25 sites during the first six months of the year, part of £19.2m of investment.
Chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: “We are encouraged by our progress and have a clear strategy in place to respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead.
“With the support of our fantastic colleagues, we remain committed to delivering sustainable growth for the benefit of our members, customers and local communities."
He added: “We expect the trading environment to remain challenging and highly competitive for the foreseeable future, but are remain confident in our strategy and our co-operative point of difference which enables us to provide a relevant and attractive proposition to our members and customers.”
As well as growth at its core food stores and funeral homes, the society’s 19 Travel shops traded positively with the niche holiday sector and tailor-made holidays performing well.