Analysis: How the Co-op plans to weather the Brexit storm


At a time when Brexit uncertainty and sluggish consumer confidence are taking their toll on the high street, the Co-op has turned in another sterling set of financial figures.

The mutual’s core grocery business delivered a 50% spike in operating profit, to £120m, in the six months to July 6, following a 3% uplift in total sales to £3.7bn. Like-for-likes advanced 1.7% during the period, despite the comparable period last year containing sales-boosting events including the FIFA World Cup and a royal wedding.

The Co-op’s food business has now racked up 22 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth, as it powers ahead with its strategy.

Sales slowdowns among some of its rivals, including Morrisons and John Lewis Partnership-owned Waitrose – both of which reported declining like-for-likes this morning – threw into stark relief just how impressive those efforts have been.

But group chief executive Steve Murrells is adamant that the Co-op will not be “resting on any laurels” and, rather than battening down the Brexit hatches, is firmly focused on the future.

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