Party food helps Co-op deliver a modest rise in yuletide sales

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH food retailer the Co-operative Group said yesterday that underlying sales grew 2.2 per cent at its food stores over the three week Christmas period, buoyed by sales of champagne, seasonal produce and desserts.

The group, which is owned by over 6m consumers and says it is the fifth biggest food retailer in Britain, posted like-for-like sales including VAT but excluding fuel up 2.2 per cent in the three weeks to 5 January compared with the same period last year.

Many retailers are finding the going tough as consumers, whose spending generates about two thirds of Britain’s GDP, fret over job security and a squeeze on incomes.

Nevertheless, Co-op’s sales of champagne soared 29 per cent in the period, helped by special offers, and own-label party food sales rose 52 per cent.

“These results represent a really encouraging and resilient performance in some of the most testing trading conditions for 40 years and build on a good result achieved over the same period last year,” said outgoing chief executive Peter Marks.