Strong annual results for Central England Co-op

Central England Co-operative has announced its year end results, to 26 January 2019, revealing a strong financial performance across its food and funeral businesses.

Despite the Society trading in a highly competitive environment, gross sales were up by 2.5% to £869.9m, with trading profit up 4.4% to £18.1m, and capital expenditure of £28.7m.

The retailer saw continued good performance in its food business, with increased sales across its convenience stores and strong trading during key seasonal events and as a result of record summer temperatures.

Ten new food stores were opened as part of an ongoing major investment plan, alongside work to refurbish a further 35 food retail sites.

Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said, “The Society delivered another strong performance in 2018 despite trading conditions remaining highly competitive in 2018 in all of the markets in which the Society operates.

“We remain confident in our strategy and our co-operative point of difference to deliver growth and provide a relevant and attractive proposition to our members, customers and local communities.”

Cheatle will step down as Chief Executive in April 2019 and will be succeeded by Debbie Robinson.

Elaine Dean, Society President, said, “Our strategy remains focussed on maintaining the Society’s position as a strong, member-owned co-operative business.

“We firmly believe that our values and principles of co-operation are as relevant today as they have ever been and our positive results again demonstrate the Society’s resilience to operate in a highly competitive market.”

The Society’s commitment to corporate responsibility resulted in a long list of successes including installing food bank collection points in over 90% of stores, rolling out a pioneering food redistribution project with FareShare at over 130 food sites with more planned.