Membership is increased and debts are substantially reduced at convenience chain

The Co-op has said it is well placed to drive future growth after reporting a substantial increase in membership.

It's been a year of progress at the Co-op

It’s been a year of progress at the Co-op

In reporting its full-year results for the 53 weeks of 2023 last week, the retailer announced group revenue of £11.3bn, down slightly on the £11.5bn in the 52 weeks of 2022.

Income rose 4.7 per cent taking into account the impact of the sale of Co-op’s petrol forecourt business in the second half of 2022. The group also made an operating profit of £66m in the year, turning around a £12m loss the year before.

The Co-op noted that it has invested £90m in lowering food prices and improving member-owner offers in the past year, and had exceeded expectations by reaching 5m active member owners.

Chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq said: “Our relentless focus on strengthening our financial position has enabled us to navigate a highly turbulent external landscape, delivering increased value for our member-owners and planning for a future with confidence and with membership firmly back at the heart of our business.

“Over the last two years, our net debt has reduced by 90 per cent from over £900m, to £82m today. Whilst markets remain challenging, we are firmly in control of our Co-op and our destiny.

“Our success in attracting new members has seen us surpass our expectations with new sign ups last year higher than the previous two years combined. This momentum has continued into 2024 as we now stand at 5.2m active member owners, and we expect to continue this journey and substantially increase the number of member owners to 8m by 2030.

“We look forward with confidence as we focus on growing our business for our member owners, while simultaneously enhancing the value we deliver to them and their communities.

“2024 marks a significant shift as we begin putting in place the building blocks for our strategic growth plans across our Co-op, with a focus on growing our existing businesses including increasing our share of the quick commerce market and expanding our presence within the life services sector.”