Co-op Reveals Festive Sales Boost

The Co-operative group has become the latest UK supermarket chain to report a strong trading performance over the festive period.
The group said like-for-like sales, including VAT but excluding fuel, rose by 5 per cent in the three weeks to 2 January and 4.8 per cent in the 12 weeks to the same date – the 16th consecutive quarter of sales growth.
Total year-on-year sales were up 66 per cent following its acquisition of the Somerfield chain.
Christmas sales were boosted by a £200 million package of price cuts and promotions, including the Co-op’s first triple dividend payout, and a significant increase in seasonal advertising .
The UK’s fifth largest food retailer revealed there was strong demand for meat and poultry, chilled foods, confectionary, beers, wines and spirits, with sales of Champagne up by 83 per cent. Sales of Fairtrade products also performed well.
Peter Marks, chief executive of the Co-operative group, said: “These results represent another strong trading performance from our food business in an increasingly competitive market and a difficult economic climate.”
“Against the backdrop of financial pressures on household budgets, rising fuel prices and extreme wintry conditions, our focus on great deals locally and the fact that our stores are located within communities, helped boost sales .”
He added: “Looking ahead, we expect the economic pressures to continue until towards the end of 2010 or the first half of 2011, so we will be redoubling our efforts to help customers by providing even greater value.”