The Co-operative Group has reported a 3.2% slump in like-for-like food sales - its second consecutive quarterly decline.

The society blamed the bad weather and its ongoing refit of Somerfield stores for the fall, which took place over the 13 weeks to 1 January. However, it said like-for-like food sales in its core convenience estate rose 2% during the period.

The most recent drop follows a 1% drop in food sales in the previous three-month period.

“The exceptionally cold weather created logistical issues for our food stores – particularly given the sheer scale and geographic spread of our estate,” said chief executive Peter Marks.

“The planned acceleration of the Somerfield conversion programme was an added issue. But this continues at pace and we remain on track to complete the process by spring 2011.”

Group sales, which include all of the Co-op’s retail business, except financial services, fell by 0.6%.

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Record Christmas spurs Sainsbury’s to super third quarter (12 January 2011)
Snow to blame for December dip on high street (11 January 2011)
Morrisons ‘a nose ahead’ as Philips hails strong Christmas (10 January 2011)