Central England Co-operative has announced its financial results for the year ended 27 January 2018, revealing an encouraging financial performance.
Gross sales and operating profit were up compared to the previous year despite the Society operating in a challenging and highly competitive trading environment, said the member-owned co-operative business. Sales stood at £848.3 million, with operating profit rising by £5.3 million to £16.6 million.
The report attributed the growth to the continued strong sales across the convenience store estate and long-term investment in expanding the food and funeral arms. The firm opened seven new food stores and nine new funeral homes last year, coupled with large scale refurbishment programme across 30 stores and 18 homes.
Chief Executive Martyn Cheatle said: “We achieved a very encouraging and robust performance in 2017 from both a financial and non-financial perspective, underlining our strength as a modern, progressive, co-operative business.
“Trading conditions remained very challenging and highly competitive throughout the year in all markets in which the Society operates. Our encouraging trading performance in 2017 demonstrated our resilience as a strong and successful independent co-operative business to compete in an intensely competitive environment.
“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 for our members, customers and local communities.”
The firm was also rewarded for its work based around community, environment, marketplace and workplace by earning a five star rating in the Business in the Community’s 2018 Corporate Responsibility Index. Its work as a responsible business resulted with the installation of 300 defibrillators at food stores and funeral homes across the entire trading estate, over 60,000 items being donated following a Christmas Foodbank Appeal and over £1.5 million raised for charity partners Newlife and Dementia UK.