Happy New Year with Co-op logo

Hi everyone

I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard over the holiday period – we’ve had our best Christmas ever.

In Food we did incredibly well, achieving +6.2% like-for-like sales and performing ahead of the market. Our seasonal lines sold over £61m, over 9% more than this time last year. We sold more than 16 million mince pies, which laid one in front of the other would stretch from our support centre in Manchester to Paris! Our Prosecco went down well too with half a million litres bought by our members and customers.

I’m sure there were many examples of colleagues going the extra mile for our customers, but Betty’s story stood out for me. Betty, one of Adeyfield’s regular customers, went into the store on 23 December in tears explaining how her fridge freezer, with all her Christmas food in it, had broken down.

Not only did the store team put the word out locally for anyone with a spare fridge/freezer for Betty, they also got it picked up and delivered for her and replaced the food she’d lost. The reaction to the story locally was amazing and this is a great example of us at our best – exactly what Being Co-op is all about. My thanks go out to Kim Nield and her team at the store.

Our Funeralcare colleagues supported over 5,000 families at this most difficult time.

Also hot off the press, we’ve just been awarded Best Funeral Plan Provider in the Moneynet Personal Finance awards 2018 and picked up 5* ratings for our gold and silver plans from Fairer Finance too – a fantastic achievement.

Insurance colleagues were busy answering over 24,000 claims calls and over 14,000 service calls in our centres. We also received 4,477 new claims from our customers.

Thanks so much for all your fantastic efforts which set us up really well for 2018.

This year’s going to be an exciting one, but it’ll also be challenging as we continue to change and grow our businesses. We’ll share our new Co-op ambition for the next five years with you very soon and get to work quickly on making it happen.

As ever, you’ll be at the centre of everything we do. I know you’ll approach this year with the same enthusiasm and commitment you always do.

Here’s to a successful 2018.


Join the conversation! 22 Comments

  1. So with the increase in profits are we going to see the membership bonus reinstated this year, it’s been a hard few years for the workforce as well as the business

    • I think this year they will say “we can’t give it to the workers that were unsure if they had a job but still helped us get through the hard times because we have just took on NISA and planning to open more new stores”. I’m pretty sure that they said they would look at it again 3 years after the bank nearly broke the CO-OP group.
      They are still cutting costs by not letting the warehouse colleagues order shorts for the new uniform!!

  2. You want to talk up “our best Christmas ever” but if we want to be saying it next year we have to be prepared to learn from our mistakes.

    Just saying “move on” isn’t a professional response.

    We can see from the press (Mothercare, House of Fraser, Debenhams) how hard conditions are for traditional retailers like the Co-op.

    We have to get serious about things like estimating and meeting demand more effectively.

    How many millions of pounds did we miss by not having enough Chocolate domes?

    Is that being addressed by anyone and if so how?

  3. People seriously need to get over the cheesecake thing. You didn’t get a cheesecake. Deal with it.

    • I believe you’re understating the issue. From a business standpoint we have not only disappointed a large number of customers, we have lost a significant amount of potential sales (and that’s not just the cheesecake, but anything else that would’ve been bought alongside it). What makes it that much more frustrating is that the same thing happened previously with a heavily advertised yet impossible to obtain Christmas desert item. The business is saying that we’re going to learn from this going forward, but where was the learning from the previous mistake?

      With regular sizable cuts to hours attributed to challenging markets and low sales, seeing opportunities like this pass us by due to a lack of learning from previous mistakes doesn’t sit well with us in stores.

  4. If Co op food is doing so good +6.2% and ahead of the market. Why are hours being cut in stores? We do not have the hours to do the basics let alone anything else.

  5. “I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard over the holiday period – we’ve had our best Christmas ever” by the sounds of this comment it sound like not everyone had the absolute pleasure of working…….

  6. Fantastic news! Well done and thank you to all my colleagues that have worked hard over the Christmas period. Here’s to a great 2018 for the Co-op and everyone that works here!

  7. ?? – No need for sarcy comments to Bridget. You don’t have to work in food to understand what a PR disaster the “bomb” was. So I’d like to hear your learned explanation, as you so clearly have your finger on the retail pulse, as to why this was so grossly underestimated, how many did we actually sell and what are the plans to avaid a similar situation next Christmas?

  8. Hi
    I work for Co Op Legal services.
    There was a programme on TV (22nd Dec prime viewing 8.00 pm) before Xmas whereby Philip Schofield and other celebrities did taste tests on some Xmas treats.
    Co op came out the best (number 1) for a Xmas pudding (think it was a chocolate bomb).
    I went to my local Co Op to do my shopping hoping to get one but the manager of the shop told me they only had 5 puddings delivered that week, Xmas week??
    What a shame. Another gentleman asked for the same treat so not just me.
    Disappointing that shops are not stocked well the week before Xmas, missed opportunities.

    • Hi Bridget. Sorry you couldn’t get hold of one. We had a few comments before Christmas about this and we replied with the following message. Thanks ^Rachel:

      We’re really sorry that people have not been able to get the smashing dome chocolate cheesecake. As you might appreciate, the amounts that are made and sent to stores are decided way back in the summer (based on loads of factors – including how well the ‘star’ dessert sold last year (if you recall, that was the one in the press and on the front of our magazines last year). However, clearly we underestimated the demand for the dome this year.

      Production timescales mean that we can’t simply produce more at short notice (the same supplier is currently working on our Easter eggs now).

      Sorry if this leaves you disappointed, and the buying team are certainly going to take this demand into account for next year. ^Kevin

      • Sorry but if that desert was in the press last year for being a great desert and on the front of your magazine then surely you have had plenty of warning that this desert will be in demand this Xmas!
        Crazy to me.

        • Crazy to stock our stores based on last year’s sales of a similar product with similar levels of coverage?!

          That’s why you work in Legal Services not Food.

          • No comment. From a mum of 3 who has worked in another competitive food store a few years back

          • Perhaps the difficulty of transporting a delicate centrepiece dessert through our network should have been learned from, though? The number of breakages in transit left the estate with far, far fewer of the dome cheesecakes than originally intended leading to disappointment for many.

          • I’m confused, surely using data from last year would be the best was of assessing potential sales figures and projected demand, or am I missing something?

    • Totally agree. I work in food and we had 20+ people ask for them and didn’t get a single one delivered to our store.

  9. Great to have Christmas and the New Year now over us. Busy Christmas here for funerals in Northern Ireland. Now that we’re back to “normal” we’re all eagerly looking forward to seeing the long awaited Talkback results being produced for us all to read. It’s onky fair, when it’s the voice of those on the ground.

  10. My husband couldn’t believe what good value the turkey crown in a box with trimmings was, and it was delicious, just right for a couple on their own, not every one has huge gatherings. My lovely food branch in Wellington put one back for me as they didn’t get issued with many. Please do more of this next year. The special 20% payday discount was lovely too.

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