Cook Shop New

Frozen food specialist Cook has recorded its best-ever sales figures over the festive trading period.

The business said net sales in in the six weeks to Christmas were up 27% compared with the same period last year.

Like-for-like retail sales, including local delivery and click & collect across its 94-shop estate, were up 22% from £12.6m in 2021 to £15.7m.

Cook also experienced its busiest-ever day on the high street, with sales on Friday 22 December totalling £785,000.

The record-breaking results come one year after a cyber-attack that wiped an estimated £2m from the business’ EBITDA in the run-up to Christmas.

The business achieved the figures despite maintaining its policy of not discounting during the peak trading weeks of the festive period.

“After one of the toughest years we’ve had commercially, due to the double-whammy of inflation and the economic slowdown, we needed a cracking Christmas,” said Cook chief sales officer Chris Portwood. “The team stepped up and delivered with bells on.

“We had to hold our nerve as Christmas came later than we were expecting, due to the snow keeping people at home, and the last two lockdown Christmases distorting shoppers’ behaviour.”

Cook said that the momentum over the Christmas period had carried over into the new year. However, Portwood remained cautious.

“The increases in energy costs and continuing ingredient inflation mean it’s difficult to be anything other than wary about 2023,” he said. “We expect it to be another tough one.” 

It comes as Cook opened four new shops in Colchester, York, Didcot and Monmouth in 2022, with six more openings planned for 2023 as it looks to drive growth.

A new store in Market Harborough is expected to be the first to open this year.

Retail director Matthew Bourne said: “All the new shops performed better than we expected.”