The Co-operative Group has reported record full-year profits of £393m – up 11% – as total sales smashed the £10bn barrier for the first time.
Like-for-like sales excluding fuel for the year to 10 January rose by 5%, while total food sales rose 23.1% to just under £4.53bn. Overall sales hit £10.4bn, up by 15%. The results do not include trading at Somerfield, which the Co-op last year acquired in a £1.7bn deal.
Group chief executive Peter Marks said the results showed “the Co-operative Group is coming into its own”.
“The last year has seen us significantly improve sales and profitability while also laying solid foundations for the reinvigoration and renaissance of the wider co-operative movement with the acquisition of Somerfield and the agreement to merge our financial services business with Britannia Building Society,” he said.
“While the economic outlook clearly remains difficult, we believe that the Co-operative Group is in a strong position.”
The UK’s fifth-largest supermarket group said like-for-like food sales for the first quarter of 2009 had risen by 6.5%.
The retailer said the performance was driven by successful store refits, product relaunches and investments in service and price. Net debt increased from £564m to £648m over the period, “reflecting the investment in refitting and rebranding of [the group’s] stores”.