Co-op aims to in­vest £14m into its es­tate

Stores and fu­neral homes to feel ben­e­fit

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Ros Snow­don CITY EDI­TOR @RosSnow­donYPN

The Co-op is plan­ning to in­vest more than £14m in new stores and fu­neral homes in 2019, with a com­mit­ment to in­vest more next year than the £13.5m it spent in 2018.

The firm said it in­vested £700,000 in York­shire in 2018. The so­ci­ety opened a new food store in Keres­forth Hill Road, Barns­ley, and re­vamped its petrol station in She­p­ley.

The new store in Barns­ley cre­ated a to­tal of 18 new jobs.

In 2019, the so­ci­ety is plan­ning fur­ther ex­pan­sion across York­shire, with full de­tails set to be re­vealed in Jan­uary.

Na­tion­ally, the group opened 10 new food stores and six new fu­neral homes this year, as well as re­launch­ing 22 fu­neral sites and 30 con­ve­nience stores.

The so­ci­ety said it has cre­ated dozens of jobs as part of on­go­ing ef­forts to im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence of cus­tomers dur­ing 2018.

Keres­forth Hill Road Cen­tral Eng­land Co-op­er­a­tive store man­ager Peter Say­ers said: “All of us here at Cen­tral Eng­land Co-op­er­a­tive Food Stores across our trad­ing area are proud to be part of such great com­mu­ni­ties and are look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing all cus­tomers, old and new, to come and en­joy our new and re­vamped food stores.”

Fu­neral di­rec­tor Andy Ee­ley said: “Our first pri­or­ity is to en­hance me­mories and love for all of our fam­i­lies and we are very pleased to of­fer that at all of our fu­neral homes.

“We feel they re­flect our com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent stan­dards of care for our fam­i­lies dur­ing their time of be­reave­ment.”

The de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme has seen in­di­vid­ual ar­eas such as Der­byshire re­ceive over £4m, Le­ices­ter­shire, Northamp­ton­shire, Not­ting­ham and the West Midlands re­ceive over £1m each and £700,000 spent in York­shire.

The so­ci­ety said mem­bers and cus­tomers have been flock­ing to the new food stores and fu­neral homes to take a closer look at the new fix­tures and fit­tings in­clud­ing the lat­est in pi­o­neer­ing new en­ergy ef­fi­cient re­frig­er­a­tion tech­nolo­gies to min­imise en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and LED light­ing.

Cus­tomers who vis­ited a new store on launch day took part in a spe­cial Golden Ticket Give­away, which saw hun­dreds of peo­ple walk away with prizes rang­ing from 50” tele­vi­sions to Co-op vouchers.

The Co-op said new cus­tomers and mem­bers will also be able to en­joy a range of com­mu­nity ben­e­fits as a re­sult of the so­ci­ety’s in­vest­ment.

Last year, thou­sands of pounds were handed out to groups in the city from Cen­tral Eng­land Co-op­er­a­tive’s Com­mu­nity Div­i­dend Fund. A to­tal of 152 groups shared over £187,000 dur­ing 2018.

The fund guar­an­tees that at least one per cent of the so­ci­ety’s trad­ing profit is rein­vested in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in a bid to help projects to thrive across its trad­ing area.

Co-op mem­bers are of­fered a range of ben­e­fits from col­lect­ing points ev­ery time they spend in store, earn­ing a share of the prof­its and ac­cess to mem­ber ac­tiv­i­ties.

The Co-op­er­a­tive Group nearly dou­bled prof­its in the first half de­spite what it de­scribed as in­creas­ing na­tional un­cer­tainty.

The com­pany re­ported a 10 per cent rise in sales to £5bn in the six months to July 7.

Pre-tax prof­its surged to £26m from £14m a year ear­lier, which the Co-op Group said re­flected some one-off items and a good busi­ness per­for­mance.

Strong food sales growth was linked to its of­fers around the World Cup.

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