Rise in sales and profits help Central England Co-op continue to make a difference in the community
Central England Co-operative has announced its year end results, to 27 January 2018, revealing an encouraging financial performance.
Gross sales and operating profit were up compared to the previous year despite the Society operating in a challenging and highly competitive trading environment.
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 of Society.
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.
- Sales of £848.3m were up on last year, with operating profit rising by £5.3m to £16.6m
- Seven new food stores and nine new funeral homes were opened, coupled with large scale refurbishment programme across 30 stores and 18 homes
- Work as a responsible business resulted with the installation of 300 defibrillators at food stores and funeral homes across the entire trading estate, over 60,000 items being donated following a Christmas Foodbank Appeal and over £1.5 million raised for charity partners Newlife and Dementia UK
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.
Seven new food stores were opened on the back of a long-term investment plan, alongside work to refurbish 30 other stores including three in Wooldale, West Yorkshire, after Wooldale Co-operative became part of the Society.
Central England Co-op’s Funeral business delivered a solid performance with sales above the previous year despite increased competition in both pre-need and at-need.
The Society is committed to continuing to provide the highest standards of care and service to families at their time of need through funeral homes, florists, masonry and supported by the Society’s coffin manufacturing business and Bretby crematorium.
This pledge was underpinned by the opening of nine new funeral homes, including three booking offices, the refurbishment of 18 other locations and the launch of a market leading unattended funeral service.
Elsewhere, the Society’s Travel stores performed well during the year, with increased sales reflecting growth in the niche holiday market.
The Society’s commitment to Corporate Responsibility resulted in a long list of successes including the appointment of 50 mental health champions, 300 lifesaving defibrillators being installed funded by the 5p carrier bag levy, 200 food stores now having foodbank collection points, and handing out over £212,000 to 120 good causes via the Community Dividend Fund.
As a community retailer, Central England Co-operative reached its £1.5 million fund-raising target and colleagues chose Dementia UK as their 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.
Notes to editors
About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK.
It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property investment.
Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2018.
Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility. It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence. The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.
Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.
For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative
Rob Smyth / Heather Clapton at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140