Co-op felt the benefit of consumers staying at home and shopping for groceries locally during lockdown, with significant gains in its food and wholesale distribution businesses.
For the 26 weeks ending 4 July, turnover in the Co-op’s Food division rose 5.2% to £3.9 billion (compared to £3.7 billion in the same period in 2019) as consumers shopped closer to home and ate out less frequently during lockdown. Underlying profit in the division rose 46% year-on-year to £175 million.
The Co-op said that during the period some 1.7 million new households shopped at its stores and the average basket size doubled as customers reduced visits.
According to Kantar Co-op held a 6.8% grocery market share for the 12 weeks ending 6 September.
Wholesale turnover in its Nisa division increased 13.9% to £801 million during the six-month period (2019: £703m) as, again, shoppers looked locally during lockdown. Co-op said that 304 new stores signed up during the period.
Co-op said it had incurred Covid-19 costs of £54 million, including additional recruitment and PPE purchases. It expected costs of £97 million for the full year.
Looking ahead chief executive Steve Murrells said: “The coming months and years remain uncertain, and we know our own Co-op will not be immune to the pressures the recession brings to family budgets and to local and national economies.”
However Co-op said it was investing £130 million in opening 50 new stores (adding to its existing footprint of 2,600 stores), giving 15 stores significant extensions and giving 100 further outlets major makeovers.