Rising food sales at Peterborough area retailer shrug off Beast from the East and long summer to beat national average

A typical Central England Co-operative food store.
A typical Central England Co-operative food store.
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Food sales at the Central England Co-operative convenience stores defied tough weather conditions to rise by seven per cent - outpacing the national average.

The Co-operative, which has dozens of food stores across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, says its food sales grew by seven per cent in the first half of 2018.

Central England Co-operative chief executive Martyn Cheatle.

Central England Co-operative chief executive Martyn Cheatle.

Nationally, over the same period food sales have risen by 1.1 per cent.

The retailer says its success was despite the impact of extreme weather conditions from the Beast from the East to the record-breaking hot summer.

This performance helped profits at the Co-operative to climb by £1 million to £12.9 million for the six months to August 11 this year.

Overall, the retailer, which operates 240 food stores across the region plus 129 funeral homes, 20 travel shops, nine florists and 22 petrol stations, saw sales rise by 3.6 per cent to £476.9 million.

Food sales at the Central England Co-operative have risen by seven per cent.

Food sales at the Central England Co-operative have risen by seven per cent.

Chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: "In our core food business, like-for-like sales in our convenience stores outperformed the market, with growth of seven per cent which included exceptional trading during the harsh winter and the hot summer.

"Throughout both spells, our store colleagues and food distribution teams provided great product availability and service in response to the significant increase in demand.

He added: “Our performance so far in 2018 has again demonstrated the Society’s resilience as a strong and successful independent co-operative business.

“However, our resilience continues to be tested by tough trading conditions which we expect to remain challenging and highly competitive for the foreseeable future.

“We remain confident in our strategy and our co-operative point of difference to deliver sustainable business growth and provide a relevant and attractive proposition to our members, customers and local communities.”

The first half of the year also saw Central England Co-operative invest £12.4 million in the opening of six new food stores, one new funeral home and two new funeral booking offices alongside the renovation of a further over 30 other sites.

Other highlights include 80 groups sharing nearly £90,000 from the Society’s Community Dividend Fund, more than £800,000 raised in the first 12 months of link up with Society corporate charity partner Dementia UK and the launch of a pioneering and industry-leading scheme to redistribute food to local good causes rolled out across all food stores.

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