East of England Co-operative Society is celebrating what it called a “buoyant” festive trading period, with like-for-like food sales up 3.6%.

The society said the harsh winter had helped sales by ensuring that consumers shopped locally rather than travel to major supermarkets. That was in contrast to The Co-operative Group, which blamed the snow for a dismal Christmas performance.

“The extremely bad weather over the past two winters has helped our smaller stores, which have once again provided a lifeline for our communities with customers preferring to shop locally rather than risk travelling on icy roads,” said East of England trading general manager Roger Grosvenor.

“Colleagues from across the society contributed greatly to this creditable result and customers have greatly appreciated the efforts of everyone involved.”

He added: “We expect the tough economic climate to continue throughout 2011, but we will continue to stay focused on offering excellent service in all of our trading outlets.”

East of England announced plans to open two new food stores in the coming months, in Colchester and Norwich.

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The Co-op blames big freeze for big slump in food sales (13 January 2011)
‘Credible’ profit hike for East of England (4 December 2010)