Central England Co-op interim results - how a purpose-led business is helping its members and communities

Posted by rob smyth | Published: 19/10/2021

Central England Co-op have spoken about their continued investment for the good of their members and communities following the announcement of the Society’s interim results.

The Retail Society, which operates over 400 food, funeral and floral sites across 16 counties, has outlined positive half year results to 7 August 2021 and the major benefits for local communities this brings in line with their Purpose of ‘Creating a sustainable Society for all’.

Financial highlights include:

  • Gross sales of £477.9 million, up by 4.3% on a comparative period of £487.3m in 2020 and £458.1m in 2019
  • Trading profit of £15.7 million, up £4.4m on a comparative period of £19.3m in 2020 and £11.4m in 2019
  • Capital expenditure of £7.7 million saw two new food stores and 23 refurbishments during the past six months, with more planned in the coming second half of the year
  • Members, colleagues and communities benefited from the success of the Society’s performance by sharing in a £2.1m dividend pay-out 

Community highlights include:

  • 86 good causes and charities shared £84,000 from its Community Dividend Fund
  • The hard work and support of colleagues, customers and members helped the retailer be named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK for the third time
  • The Society was the only supermarket to be awarded three Carbon Trust Standards for reducing carbon emissions, waste and water use for a fourth time in a row
  • Ongoing partnerships with FareShare Midlands and over 65 local food banks meant hundreds of thousands of meals for children who might otherwise go without and thousands of vital emergency food parcels for families
  • Pledging over £350,000 with charity Groundwork as part of an ambitious project to create sustainable spaces on Co-op land for the local community

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said:

“Thank you to our members, for your loyalty and support, and thank you to our valued colleagues across our family of Co-operative businesses for making sure our members and customers in the communities in which we serve could access the food and goods they needed, as well as providing consistently high standards of care for the deceased and support to the bereaved.

“As reported last year, the first half of 2020 showed a dramatic spike in trading performance after the first lock-down in March 2020. In order to fully represent our underlying financial performance, we have used financial comparisons from both 2020 and 2019 in this report.

Gross sales in the first half of the year increased to £477.9m, up 4.3% on pre-pandemic sales in 2019 of £458.1m (£487.3m in 2020).

“Trading profit of £15.7m was up £4.4m compared to 2019, albeit down versus the exceptional trading seen in 2020. We also recorded strong cash generation of £28.8m, continued to invest for future growth with £7.7m of capital expenditure, and distributed £2.1m in dividends to our members, colleagues, communities and other stakeholders.”

Jane Avery, Society President, said:

“Our Society has continued to perform well; we have not sat on our laurels and taken it for granted that those who discovered us during the pandemic would remain loyal but have continued to innovate and attract and retain new customers. What we do, the success we have, is done for and on behalf of our members. This model has worked successfully for over 175 years and has been resilient in good times and bad.”

The full interim report can be viewed by visiting bit.ly/3lTVWm0.



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About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 7,800 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.


Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.


It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.


The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 


It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.


Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.


Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop