The Southern Co-operative, which operates 250 food stores and a funeral business across the South of England, has reported a 4.7% increase in total income to £366.8m for the 53 weeks to 30 January 2016. Despite the tough trading conditions in the grocery sector, group operating profit increased 4.4% to £4.8m.
Mark Smith, Chief Executive for The Southern Co-operative said: “These results reflect the continued hard work and commitment of all our colleagues. Our business has grown significantly following investment over recent years and we continue to grow, with £17m invested back into the business last year.
“In our food business, this investment enabled us to open 11 new stores, and to implement important changes to store layouts that will enable us to more accurately match our product ranges to the needs of local customers. Retail sales in the year grew by £14.5m to £346.3m while sales of locally sourced products, branded as Local Flavours and now stocked in 75% of our stores, increased by 10%. More generally like-for-like food sales strengthened during the year and were 3.1% higher in the final quarter.”
In the year ahead, Smith said the society will continue to focus investment on further developing its convenience food offer, including additional work on ranging and the opening of 20 new stores.