This morning we’ve announced our annual results for 2016. You can read the news release for all the details.

It certainly was an amazing year for our Co-op. A year when we see for the first time the benefits of our hard work and investment come through in the performance of all our businesses.

Our plan to invest in our brand, our businesses and our colleagues has delivered a big jump in membership, better sales and increased market share. Our Co-op is now better for members, better for colleagues and better for communities up and down the UK.

This is the message we should all share today.


The highlights of the year were the relaunch of our Co-op membership, the return to our iconic look and the investment we made in colleagues through Back to Being Co-op.

We launched our new Co-op membership last September and by the end of the year the 5% for you and the 1% for your community had given back £19m to our members. By the end of the year we had 4m active members and this year we’ve already attracted a further 350,000 new members to our Co-op. Since last September that’s an 18% jump in membership.

Our commercial performance has been strong too. Group revenues were up 3% to £9.5bn, with Food, Funeralcare and Insurance all delivering strong levels of growth.

    • Food like-for-like sales rose 3.5% as we continue to out-perform the market
    • Funeralcare saw a 69% increase in sales of pre-paid funeral plans
    • And Insurance delivered strong sales, up 28%

Jo Whitfield, Richard Lancaster and Mark Summerfield will be briefing colleagues later this morning on the detailed performance for Food, FLS, and Insurance.

The Group’s underlying profit before tax was £59m, that’s down on last year but expected while we continue to invest in the business.


Great things happen

All of this has set us up for well for 2017, the year we’ve started our national conversation about what makes the Co-op a better way of doing business.

At the end of next week we begin our national TV campaign with the message ‘Great things happen when we work together’. And to prove it we’ll be making the pay-out to our first 4,000 local causes. That’s four thousand good reasons we’ll be giving people to choose Co-op.


The Co-operative Bank

As you may have seen in the media, we’ve taken a very cautious approach to the valuation of our 20% stake in The Co-operative Bank. That caution, however, creates a statutory loss on our Group results of £132m. It’s important to remember that our own businesses are performing well and this has no impact on our Rebuild plans.

Finally, let me thank every one of you for the great work you’ve been doing to make our Co-op successful again. There’s plenty to keep us busy this year and the next few weeks will be especially important for us, our members and their communities.