Co-op on a roll with double-digit sales hike

The Co-op operates some 2,600 food stores, around 1,000 funeral homes and provides products to more  than 5,100 other stores. Picture: Co-operative Group
The Co-op operates some 2,600 food stores, around 1,000 funeral homes and provides products to more than 5,100 other stores. Picture: Co-operative Group
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The Co-op has cashed in on its acquisition of Nisa convenience stores after reporting a double-digit hike in revenues.

Annual results show that the food, funerals and insurance giant saw total revenues leap 14 per cent to £10.2 billion in the 52 weeks to 5 January, driven by the addition of Nisa and a strong performance in the core food business.

Like-for-like food sales rose by a healthy 4.4 per cent, marking the fifth consecutive year of growth.

Profit before tax from continuing operations was up 27 per cent to £93 million, though underlying pre-tax profits were flat at £43m.

The results come in the wake of the Co-operative Group’s acquisition in 2017 of convenience store network Nisa – a deal which formally completed in May of last year and has seen Co-op products appear in Nisa shops.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op, said the integration of Nisa had been a “game-changer” which significantly expanded the group’s food footprint.

The Co-op operates some 2,600 food stores, around 1,000 funeral homes and provides products to more than 5,100 other stores.

The group also hailed a year of community initiatives, as it returned £79m to members and local projects.

Murrells said: “Over the past year we have continued to successfully transform the Co-op, leading to a 14 per cent increase in revenues to £10.2bn and the return of £60m directly to our members and £19m to over 4,000 community projects across the UK.

“The acquisition and integration of the Nisa wholesale business has been a game changer in expanding our food footprint and we have also set out the path by which we can offer our members a broader range of compelling Co-op solutions in insurance and health.

“We continue to demonstrate that the Co-op is a good business that does good for society as we lead on issues including single use plastics, funeral affordability and social housing.”

The funeral division saw a 1 per cent decline in revenue, amid fierce competition in the market.

Allan Leighton, non-executive chairman, added: “In these uncertain economic times we have the opportunity to demonstrate that the Co-op way of doing business has never been more relevant than it is today.

“With the continued support of our colleagues, members and communities, I have no doubt that we will thrive in the years ahead. I am confident and excited about the path we are following and the greater social impact we can create for our members and their communities.”