Refitted food stores generate strong sales
Good performances in the food and pharmacy businesses have helped the Co-operative Group lift profit for the half year to July, but simultaneously losses have widened at Shoefayre.

The Group reported a profit before tax of£157.4 million, up 31.6 per cent from£119.6 million for the same period last year. Group revenue was£4 billion, up 3.2 per cent from£3.9 billion last year.

In the Group's core business, food retail profits rose 31.8 per cent, to£55.1 million, on sales that rose 3.3 per cent to£1.6 billion. Like-for-like sales for the food retail business rose 3.3 per cent. Like-for-like sales were up 7 per cent in the convenience stores.

Sales were particularly strong in the 200 food stores that have been refitted. The group plans to spend£37 million on refits this year and a full review of the food offer is underway.

The group is also seeing financial benefits from the opening of a new national distribution centre in Coventry

At Co-operative Pharmacy, profits increased by 34.9 per cent to£11.2 million and sales grew 12.1 per cent to£171.5 million. This was aided by acquisition, which added 72 stores, taking the total to more than 430. A record 13.8 million prescriptions were dispensed in the first half of the year, up 14.2 per cent. Like-for-like sales were up 3.6 per cent.

At Shoefayre losses were£6.6 million, compared to losses of£2.3 million last year. Sales were£33.1 million, down 11.5 per cent from£37.4 million.