Monday 24th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Co-op invests £70m in food logistics

The Co-operative is planning to invest £70m in its food logistics network this year, the group said in its annual results.

The group is now moving into the final phase of revamping its logistics network following the takeover of Somerfield in 2009.

In January it announced plans for a regional distribution centre in the North Midlands, which, when opened next year, will complete the overhaul of its food logistics network.

New regional distribution hubs have already been opened at Birtley in County Durham, Thurrock in Essex, and, most recently, at Lea Green on Merseyside.

Earlier this month the group received planning permission for a 435,750 sq ft distribution centre in Avonmouth while sites, at Newhouse in Scotland and Andover in Hampshire, are currently being built.

Co-op chief Peter Marks said: “The past year caps what has been a truly remarkable and exhilarating period for the group, marking the completion of our three-year business plan following the merger of the group and United Co-operatives in 2007.

“We have achieved our success due to continued investment in our store and branch estates and in our brand, our products and our service. In addition, we made two ambitious and transformative acquisitions – Somerfield in food and Britannia in financial services.”

The report said the food business delivered strong result, in spite of difficult economic conditions and disruption associated with integration of Somerfield. Sales in the food business were up 4.8 per cent to £7.5bn last year while operating profit before significant items rose 33.3 per cent to £382.6m.

By April 2011 all the stores will be operating under the Co-operative brand, and a further 350 stores are planned by 2013.

“During 2011 we will still be a business in transition, however, all the work done over the past three years means we are in good shape to continue to weather the downturn and make the most of opportunities when the economic situation improves,” said Marks.