One of North Lincolnshire's biggest retailers reports rise in sales

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 16 May 2017

One of northern Lincolnshire's biggest retailers the Lincolnshire Co-op has reported total sales were up by £6.2 million to £153 million in the half year to March 4, 2017.

But the group trading surplus of £8.5 million was down on the £10 million profit for the same period last year, reflecting the tighter margins in the food industry post-Brexit vote and the pound's plummet.

However 13,750 new shoppers signed up to the 'Co-op divi' scheme, bringing the total to 273,000.

Staff at Goxhill's Lincolnshire Co-Op store

Chief executive Ursula Lidbetter said: "We're pleased with the performance this half year, with sales growth across the business enabling us to carry on investing in our services and the community".

The 4.2 per cent sales increase saw food over perform, with sales up 7 per cent, helped by a busy investment programme which has seen outlets revamped, new food ranges introduced with more focus on chilled products and meal solutions, plus new services like Costa Coffee machines, instore bakeries and hot food-to-go. 

Goxhill has an entirely new store.

World events and uncertainties about restrictions on holiday destinations saw travellers seek out the expert, independent advice and financial peace of mind that Lincolnshire Co-op’s 13 travel branches provide, with sales up by 14 per cent.

More people chose to entrust their funeral arrangements to the Society’s funeral homes, which saw income increase in the half year.

Pharmacies dispensed more than 2.7m prescriptions, an increase on last year. As well as numerous general consultations, the teams also provided vital health services to more than 11,500 people including NHS Medicine Reviews, NHS New Medicine Service appointments, flu vaccinations, health checks and stop smoking clinics. 

Despite this strong performance, significant cuts to pharmacy income received for dispensing prescriptions have had an impact on Lincolnshire Co-op’s bottom line.

“We’ve known about and campaigned against the cuts to pharmacy income for some time and so were able to plan for their impact," Ms Lidbetter said. “However, we want to ensure that the vital service community pharmacy provides is better understood by Government. Our patients and customers know our pharmacies are a vital part of health provision and are about much more than prescriptions. We will continue to make strong representations on their behalf.” 

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