Central England Co-op sees half year sales dip

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Central England Co-op has reported a dip in sales in its latest half year trading period.

The Lichfield-based retailer’s gross sales decreased from £487.3m in 2020 to £477.9m for the six months to August 7 – 4.3% ahead of the £458.1m figure for the pre-pandemic period in 2019.
Trading profit of £15.7m was down on £19.3m in 2020 but up from £11.4m in 2019.

The retailer said capital expenditure of £7.7m saw two new food stores and 23 refurbishments during the past six months, with more planned in the coming second half of the year.

Central England distributed £2.1m in dividends to its members, colleagues, communities and other stakeholders.

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.”

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.”