Strong financial performance underpins Co-op's eCommerce expansion

The Co-op recorded a strong financial performance in the year ended 4 January 2020, with like-for-like revenue figures increasing by 7% and underlying profits by 50%. This has helped enable the group to invest in its online home delivery service in the past year, which should also help sales during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement released today, the retailer said that it had successfully trialled home delivery in the last year and is now ready to expand its delivery options for customers. Using delivery options such as Deliveroo, online same-day services are being made available across almost 100 towns and cities, served by 650 Co-op stores.

Total revenue for the group in 2019 was £10.9 billion, which was primarily driven by a 3% growth in food sales to £7.5 billion. Overall underlying profit was £50 million.

The growth in profit has also enabled the retailer to provide extra community support to those affected by the Covid-19 crisis. This includes the launch of an online resource signposting volunteers and those in need to local and national support initiatives and the establishment of a new Co-op Members’ Fund to support foodbanks, address funeral poverty and help local causes directly supporting crisis effort.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of the Co-op commented: “The Co-op made further financial progress through 2019, showing that co-operation is working. While we didn’t know it at the time, that performance set us up well to withstand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and to enable us to support the communities we operate in.”

However, the grocer acknowledged that the outlook is uncertain due to the current crisis and expects to face additional costs of over £200 million due to Covid-19, which will be partly offset by increased food sales in this period.

There have been a number of recent examples of retailers finding ways of helping vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis. This includes Ted Baker developing its first ever digital pop up store, with 100% of profits going to charitable causes.