The Co-operative Group has underlined its readiness to
join a supermarket 'big five' as its food division
pushed the group to record profits and sales for the
first half of the year.
Following the merger with United in July 2007, the Co-op
today announced sales up 34% compared to the equivalent
period last year to a new high of ?4.02bn, up from a
previous mark of ?2.99bn.
Operating profits also rose dramatically, up by 35.6% to
just over ?191m in the six months to 26 July.
The highlight was the performance of its food business,
which rose by a massive 43.5% thanks to major expansion
by the group, with like-for-like sales showing a 5%
improvement compared to 2007.
Chief executive Peter Marks said the results heralded "a
renaissance of the whole co-operative sector in the UK".
"This has been an exciting half year for the
Co-operative Group as our rejuvenated food business led
a strong performance by the trading group," Marks said.
"In the wake of the merger of the Co-operative Group and
United Co-operatives, we have made record profits. At
the same time, we have secured agreement to buy
Somerfield ? a transformational deal which will cement
our position as the UK's premier community retailer.
These results show that we are continuing to make huge
strides [despite] all the changes going on in the
He added: "Looking ahead, it is clear that the rest of
this year and quite possibly much of next year will be
tough, because of the wider economic environment. The
credit crunch, the ongoing slow-down in the housing
market, food price inflation and energy cost rises will
weigh on all businesses ? and our sector will continue
to be as competitive as ever.
"In spite of this, we are confident that our business
model is robust and we will continue to maximise
opportunities as and where they present themselves,
while at the same time keeping a firm hand on cost
control and delivering a competitive offer to our