The Manchester based Co-op has seen its revenues up 7.6% driven by exceptional performances from Food and Wholesale during the Covid crisis in the six months to July.

Revenue in Food rose 5.2% to £3.9bn as customers shopped closer to home and ate out less frequently during lockdown.

Like-for-like sales up 8.8% (excluding fuel) representing 7th year of like-for-like growth; market share increased 0.5 percentage points to 7.1% peaking in the 12 weeks prior to 14 June.

Nisa wholesale revenues increased 13.9% to £801m , benefiting says the Company from  from local shopping in lockdown and range improvements under Co-op ownership and Funeralcare revenue increased 3.5% to £148m  with a 22% increase in volume offset by reduced average revenue per funeral due to Covid-19 restrictions.

However the group has seen Covid-19 costs of £54m, including additional recruitment and PPE purchase; and expects costs of £97m for the full year.

Co-op received £33m government support in first half in business rates relief and furlough payments for limited number of colleagues.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive of the Co-op, said:

“We are living in unprecedented times, but the response of our Co-op has been exceptional and I’m immensely proud of my 60,000 colleagues who’ve helped to feed and care for the nation during this difficult period. We’ve shown how our co-operative approach to doing business provides enhanced value for our customer-members and the communities in which they live. At a time of crisis, our country needs a strong and progressive Co-op and these results evidence that we are ready to deliver even more for our key stakeholders.

“Our vision of co-operating for a fairer world has taken on even greater resonance during this exceptional time, with the pandemic bringing to light inequalities and injustices which no longer feel remotely tolerable. Actions, however, clearly need to marry with the words, which is why we have announced four important initiatives – improvements to colleague pay and benefits; our new diversity and inclusion commitments; the creation of new routes to work and our relaunch of membership. Being a Co-op has never felt more meaningful and right. The role of business in society is changing and we are proud to lead the way. Everything we are doing points to a Co-op in tune with the communities in which it operates, one which is determined to innovate and drive change for the benefit of our members and the places where they live and work.

“The coming months and years remain uncertain, and we know our own Co-op will not be immune to the pressures the recession brings to family budgets and to local and national economies. We will continue to invest within our core businesses to ensure that our Co-op value resonates within Co-op households and local communities.”

Allan Leighton, Independent Non-Executive Chair of the Co-op, said:

“Our nation is experiencing a year like no other and I think it’s safe to say that things will never be quite the same again. The pandemic has led to a health and economic crisis, but it has also highlighted deep seated unfairness and inequalities across the world and surfaced a growing public intolerance for injustice. How we ‘build back better’ to create a fairer and kinder world has become central to public debate. As the UK’s biggest co-operatively owned business, we intend to be central to that conversation, showing how commerce and community wellbeing must develop in harmony for the good of us all.

“During the first half of 2020 we have shown that commerciality and co-operability can thrive and feed off one another, when both are given the same level of focus and importance. The Co-op is a different kind of business, but one whose enduring value can best be evidenced during times of need and hardship. In the difficult times ahead, we will ensure that our Co-op continues to make the world a fairer place to live in.”


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