The Co-op has reported a slight drop in food and wholesale sales to £9.1 billion in its full year results, ended 1 January 2022.
The symbol group retailer revealed sales were up on a two-year basis from £8.9 billion in 2019, but down from £9.3 billion in 2020, which was the Co-op attributed to the impact of initial lockdown on consumer behaviours.
The Co-op also reported strong underlying demand, with two-year like-for-like growth of 3.3% (excluding fuel) and over 9% in wholesale.
Despite of the slight drop in sales, the retailer reported a “significant” expansion in e-commerce.
As a result, it doubled revenue in online business to £200 million, through website and partnerships with Amazon, Starship and Deliveroo, compared with £70 million in 2020 and £4 million in 2019, respectively.
“The past year has been a challenging one for our Co-op, but we continued as planned with our investment strategy to strengthen our Co-op’s future state,” said chair Allan Leighton.
Co-op interim chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq added: “The difficult operating environment disproportionately impacted our food business, given its focus on the community convenience market, with an operating model that is more reliant on flexibility in the supply chain.
“The Co-op remains uniquely positioned. We continue to be driven by our vision of co-operating for a fairer world and have a platform of businesses in the right markets to drive change, and get closer to our members, customers and communities.
“The significant investment we have made across our business in recent years now provides the basis for us to move forwards in a more efficient manner,” she said.
“As we look ahead, our focus must be on accelerating growth in our food business through our four routes to market.”