Sales rise for Central England Co-op
Central England Co-operative has reported a growth in both sales and profits for its last financial year.
It said that major investment in food shops and funeral homes across 16 counties has supported the growth of the society, which has its headquarters in Lichfield.
Central England Co-operative saw operating profit rising by £5.3 million to £16.6m for the 12 months to January 27 on sales of £848.3m, which were up £4.8m.
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.
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.
Seven new food stores and nine new funeral homes were opened in the year, coupled with large scale refurbishment programme across 30 stores and 18 homes
It installed 300 defibrillators at food shops and funeral homes across the entire trading estate.
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 being among the highlights.
The funeral business delivered a solid performance with sales above the previous year despite increased competition.
The Society’s travel stores performed well during the year, with increased sales reflecting growth in the niche holiday market.
As a community retailer, Central England Co-operative reached its £1.5 million fund-raising target and staff chose Dementia UK as its new corporate charity partner.
As in previous years, stakeholder groups of members, colleagues and communities benefited from the success of the society’s performance by sharing in a £3.7m payout.