Nisa-buying Co-op's results welcomed as boss underlines how he is "hungry for more"

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 6 Apr 2018

Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells has told how he is delighted with the group's performance "and hungry for more" as full year results were released.

The company, which has agreed to buy-out Scunthorpe-headquartered Nisa Retail, for which it is awaiting regulatory clearance, has reported pre-tax profits of £72 million, with revenues stable at £9.5 billion.

Food's like-for-like sales were up 3.4 per cent, with core convenience sales up by 4.3 per cent, with four consecutive years of like-for-like sales growth now delivered.  

Mr Murrells said: “Today’s results show how much progress we have made. All our businesses have performed well and we have increased profits and reduced debt, while continuing to invest for colleagues, members and customers. The success we are enjoying shows that the Co-op’s difference really resonates today – a different ownership model and a different approach to business, based on returning profits to our members and their communities.

“We’re delighted with our performance, but we’re hungry for more and ready to create the Co-op of the future.

"Whether it’s in our existing business areas or through new ventures, we want to make the Co-op ever more competitive, relevant and innovative."

Operational highlights included the £137.5 million agreed acquisition, with Nisa members having voted three to one in favour. The Competitions and Markets Authority has launched a preliminary investigation into the deal, and is due to report back by April 23.

Mr Murrells also highlighted further expansion of the convenience store estate, with 100 new stores planned for 2018 and an agreement to become exclusive wholesale supplier to Costcutter Supermarkets Group, and the 2,200 Costcutter, Mace, Simply Fresh, Supershop and Kwiksave convenience stores across its network.

He said the company would be "working with independent retailers to grow their businesses through the provision of Co-op own-brand products to their stores and by offering lower wholesale prices through improved buying power".

A Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities plan has also been launched, with Mr Murrells adding: "To really succeed as a Co-op we need to be even more successful commercially and our community efforts need to be concentrated on the things that matter to people. We are going to deliver more Co-op products and services to more people throughout the country and that is what will really allow us to spread our difference.

“We know there are challenges ahead, but we are confident that with the support of our colleagues and our members, the strength of our brand and continued investment in our businesses we will achieve our goals.”

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