The Co-op publishes poor H1 results

The double-dip recession in the UK has impacted on like-for-like sales at The Co-operative, which posted a 1.2% fallin its first half figures.

The group said the longest economic downturn for decades in the UK had had an impact on “our sales and performance” during the first half. Underlying operating profits for the group were also down by more than a third to £174m.

Operating profit for the food business was £119m, down 16.4% on last year, and The Co-op said the figures suggested that competition was tough, particularly within the convenience sector. Food sales also saw a slump of 2.2% in the 26 weeks to 30 June.
Despite the drop in profits, the company has “ambitious” growth plans of delivering 80 new stores and in April this year acquired Scottish retailer David Sands.

Group chief executive of The Co-op Peter Marks said that H1 of 2012 was an important one. He said: “We have been able to continue to invest for the long-term development of all our businesses and to protect our customers.

“A year ago I warned that we were operating in the worst conditions that I have seen in more than 40 years in business. The results we are announcing today show the full impact of that with the profitability of our two biggest businesses affected.”

Marks also added that nothing published in the report was unexpected and the outcome had been planned for. Looking ahead, Marks said he remained confident and expected an improvement in sales and profit in H2. He said: “We believe that the work we have done over the past five years to scale up in our core businesses means we are better placed than ever before to thrive when the economic upturn does come.”