The Co-operative Group has reported growth in underlying profit to £81m and increased market share in the convenience food sector.
Group Chief executive, Richard Pennycook, says the business is "on the right track". He said: "This has been a year of further progress at the Co-op as we have invested to drive the growth of our businesses.
"Underlying profits have increased but our priority this year has been on putting the building blocks in place for the long-term. Whether it’s our investment in lowering prices, rewarding colleagues or campaigning on key issues, we are taking the right steps and the performance of our businesses and the feedback from our members shows us we are on the right track.
"We are, however, only one year into our rebuild and whether it is driving further growth in our businesses, improving member engagement or getting back to our campaigning roots, there is still much to achieve.
"We are championing a better way of doing business for our customers and communities and working with our colleagues and members we’re confident that we have a strong plan to achieve our goals.”
Highlights of Co-operative Group results for 52 weeks to year end 2 January:
- Group revenue stable at £9.3bn (2014: £9.4bn)
- Food like-for-like sales grew by 1.6%, with like-for-like volumes up 5%
- Funeral sales increased by 9.9%
- Group underlying profit before tax* of £81m (2014: £73m)
- Profit before tax of £23m (2014: £124m), reflecting major investment in the business this year and 2014 profits being bolstered by £121m from one-off disposals
- Group capital expenditure of £320m (2014: £294m)
- 8.5% pay award for 40,000 front line store colleagues, driving pay above Government’s National Living Wage threshold well ahead of its implementation
- Significant investment to reduce prices in Food, including 15% reduction in fruit and vegetable prices
- Net debt steady at £0.7bn (2014: £0.7bn), in line with stated aim to keep debt below £0.9bn through Rebuild
- New national charity partnership with the British Red Cross launched with campaign to tackle loneliness as Group returns to its campaigning heritage
|Listen to Co-operatives UK Secretary General Ed Mayo being interviewed on Five Live ahead of Co-operative Group's results announcement here (fast forward to the 20 minute mark).|
Allan Leighton, Independent Non-Executive Chair of The Co-operative Group, said: "The Co-op’s confidence is growing and our members, customers and colleagues are starting to see the difference. We are now the UK’s most frequently visited food retailer, while our other core businesses, from Funerals to General Insurance, are also showing strong signs of progress.
"Our ownership model allows us to invest for the long-term and our members and our customers are seeing the results as we improve our offer and demonstrate what makes us different as an organisation.
"As well as investing in our businesses and our people over the last year, we have continued to invest in our governance to harness the passion our members and colleagues have for the Co-op. Our Board and Council are working together in support of our membership and later this year we will unveil exciting plans to drive member engagement even further."