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Co-op back into profit after break from bank

The Co-op invested more than £1m in new sites in Aberdeenshire last year
Picture by Chris Sumner.
The Co-op invested more than £1m in new sites in Aberdeenshire last year Picture by Chris Sumner.

The Co-operative Group swung back into profit last year after it made a clean break from its troubled banking business.

The mutual posted a pre-tax profit of £72million in 2017, compared with a £132million loss the year before when it wrote off the value of its stake in the Co-operative Bank.

Hedge funds now control the lender and it has severed ties with the group.

On an underlying basis, profit before tax rose 25% to £65million off the back of an improving business performance and reductions in the Co-op’s cost base. Revenue for the funerals to food group were flat at £9.5billion.

In 2017 the Co-op invested more than £1million in new sites in Aberdeenshire, opening one new food store and two new funeral homes in Portlethen and Torry, bringing its food stores in the region to 40, and funeral homes to nine.

Last year also saw the Co-op announce the acquisition of Nisa Retail, the wholesaler and convenience retailer, for up to £137.5million, and the deal remains subject to regulatory approval.

In addition, the business also agreed to become the exclusive wholesale supplier to Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG) and the 2,200 Costcutter, Mace, Simply Fresh, Supershop and Kwiksave convenience stores across its network from spring 2018.

Steve Murrells, Co-op chief executive said: “Our results show we are making good progress, but we want to accelerate that progress, in order that we can do more for the communities we serve. I recognise that customers have a choice, but I want them to increasingly choose the Co-op, not only because what we offer is good, but knowing that we will spend the profits on making a difference to their communities.”

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