Regional co-operative retailer Southern Co-op, operating across English counties from Devon to Kent, has announced total sales of £431m for the 52 weeks to 27 January 2018, up 9.5% on the year. Including a range of business divisions, but with food retailing at the core, the society ended the year with 220 supermarkets and convenience stores.
Food retail like-for-likes up 1.6%
While total sales were boosted by 16 new stores added in the period, the society is also investing in reinventing existing stores, improving the shopping environment and rolling out its 'Right Store' programme to drive up standards and operating efficiency. Improvements in range have included the introduction of COOK frozen ready meal fixtures into a number of stores, through partnership with the brand.
Franchise offers new path to growth
While Southern has successfully opened three new stores in the first quarter of 2018/19, it has acknowledged challenges in finding locations with the necessary potential to trade successfully. However, 2017 saw the launch of the society's franchise division, offering independent retailers the opportunity to operate a fully supported store package under the Welcome fascia. This network was boosted by the transfer of 10 Southern managed stores to independent ownership over the year. This franchise package, now in 25 stores, provides Southern with the scope to expand its reach through recruiting independent retailers, and is already bringing the business into new regions such as Hertfordshire north of London.
IGD Convenience Retailing Summit 2018
26-27 September, London
Convenience continues to outpace big store formats. This year we have launched a two-day event to help you explore every opportunity, possibility and future trend to boost your business.
Find out more »