The Co-operative reports strong Christmas and New Year trading

15 January 2013

The Co-operative Group, the UK's largest mutual and community retailer, today (15 January 2013) reports another good performance from its trading businesses over Christmas and the New Year period.
In the three weeks ending 5 January, total sales in The Co-operative’s food stores (inc. VAT, exc fuel) grew by 2.4 per cent and were 2.2 per cent higher on a like-for like basis. The Group's convenience stores did particularly well with like-for-like sales up 5.5 per cent over the three week festive period driven by targeted promotion and the new brand advertising activity.
The results come on top of a good corresponding performance in 2011, which means that on a like for like basis, Christmas and New Year’s sales have grown by 5.3 per cent over the past two years.

The strong Christmas performance also helped sustain positive trading momentum within the food business during the second half of 2012, and in particular within the final 13 weeks of the year where total food sales (inc. VAT, exc fuel) were up 0.6 per cent year on year and up 0.3 per cent on a like for like basis.

Christmas Eve was the busiest day of the year for the food business, with takings of more than £35m as customers did a last-minute shop for their festive necessities.

Top-selling Christmas and New Year lines were:

  • Champagne sales +29 per cent
  • Chilled seasonal desserts +32 per cent, led by favourites profiteroles and tiramisu and lemoncello
  • Seasonal Fresh produce +17 per cent led by fruit, prepared vegetables and vegetable medleys and cut flowers +27 per cent
  • Own label party food (bakery) +53 per cent
  • Chilled ethnic party food +38 per cent, led by “3 for 2” offer in Indian, Oriental, Chicken Satay and Tex Mex selections 
  • Gift cards +20 per cent, led by strong iTunes promotion

Elsewhere within The Group’s retail operations there were other notable trading performances over the three week Christmas and New Year period. Pharmacy over the counter sales were up 7.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis with strong growth witnessed in the gift category (+55 per cent) and the core health categories (+ 8 per cent). Co-operative Electrical, the Group’s online business, enjoyed a 15.2 per cent uplift on the same period last year. Best sellers included tablet PCs (+68 per cent), printers (+33 per cent) and laptops (+20 per cent).    
Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group said: “These results represent a really encouraging and resilient performance in some of the most testing trading conditions for 40 years and build on a good result achieved over the same period last year. The figures also helped to sustain the positive sales momentum we have seen in the second half of this year and whilst conditions remain very challenging we now enter 2013 in a position where we expect to make continued progress.    

“Against a difficult economic environment, customers were keen to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with their friends and family. By continuing to focus on quality and value, The Co-operative, with our stores conveniently located in their communities, helped them do just that.

“It is thanks to the hard work, focused promotions and fantastic customer service of all our colleagues, together with great support from our dedicated suppliers, that another set of strong results has been achieved.”

For further information contact:

Russ Brady
Patrick Tooher
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 07880 784442 / 07831 314671

Susanna Voyle
Lucy Legh

Tulchan Communications
Tel: 020 7353 4200