Manchester’s Co-op Group said revenue fell slightly to £4.6 billion in the 26 weeks ended July 1 compared to £4.7 billion at the same stage last year “as a result of lower sales in our food business following the sale of some of our stores and the reinsurance of risk in our insurance business.”
Co-op Group said underlying profit before tax fell 48% to £14 million “as members and their communities benefit from member reward scheme — £35 million — and insurance profits fall, primarily as a result of the claims experience, year on year.”
The Co-op paid out £29 million in member rewards and £6 million to support 4,000 local causes.
Co-op Group said more than half a million new members were recruited in first half of the year, taking active membership to 4.5 million people across the UK.
It said 1.1 million members have joined since the launch of the new membership scheme in September 2016.
Co-op Group said it sold its remaining 1% stake in Co-op Bank.
“As a result of the recapitalisation of the bank, the relationship agreement between group and bank which covers, among other things, the promotion of bank services to members of group, will naturally fall away and come to a formal end in 2020.”
Steve Murrells, group chief executive of the Co-op, said: “Championing a better way of doing business for our members and their communities is what the Co-op is all about and I’m delighted that we are really starting to deliver on that purpose.
“Since we launched our member reward scheme in September 2016 more than 1.1 million people have signed up to join the Co-op.
“As a result we’ve been able to give £35 million back to our members and their communities over the first half of this year, a conscious decision to share our success with our members and the 4,000 good causes which mean so much to them.
“We can do all this because our businesses have continued to perform in the face of challenging markets.
“Food has posted a 14th consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth, Funeralcare continues to lead the market on the back of the launch of our Simple Funeral offer and our Insurance business continues to lead on making driving safer for the young.
“Across our business we are also maintaining our commitment of re-investing for the future success of our Co-op.”