Lincolnshire Co-op has recorded a 4.2% sales growth in its half year results, which the group puts down to the strong performance at its food stores and travel branches.
Total sales went up by £6.2 million to £153 million in the half year up to March 4, compared to the same period last year.
Sales rose in food stores by 7%, helped by a programme of investment which has seen outlets revamped, new food ranges introduced and new services like Costa Coffee machines, instore bakeries and hot food-to-go.
Lincolnshire Co-op says world events and uncertainties about restrictions on holiday destinations saw more travellers visiting the group’s 13 travel branches. Sales went up by 14%. Income also increased for the society’s funeral homes.
Pharmacies dispensed more than 2.7m prescriptions, an increase on last year. The teams also provided 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.
The society has recorded a group trading surplus for the half year of £8.5m, ahead of budget though lower than the last half year’s £10m. It added significant cuts to pharmacy income received for dispensing prescriptions have had an impact on Lincolnshire Co-op’s bottom line.
Another factor has been the planned significant investment in the Cornhill Quarter development in Lincoln city centre.
Over £10m has been spent on capital projects this half year including opening a new food store in Goxhill, in North Lincolnshire, and creating a community hub in Holbeach featuring a library, pharmacy, post office and a revamped food store.
Every time a member shops in a Lincolnshire Co-op outlet, a donation is made to a good cause through the Community Champions scheme. Staff fundraising and the carrier bag levy also goes into the pot.
During the half year, £103,000 was split between hundreds of smaller local charities and community groups. The Society also donated £290,000 worth of support to 14 charities tackling homelessness.
Some 13,750 new members joined Lincolnshire Co-op bringing the total number of dividend card holders to 273,000.
Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-op Ursula Lidbetter said: “We’re pleased with our performance this half year, with sales growth across the business enabling us to carry on investing in our services and the community.
“We do this through new outlets, like our community hub in Holbeach, or in wider schemes like the Cornhill Quarter in Lincoln, which will help revitalise that area of the city.
“We’ve known about and campaigned against the cuts to pharmacy income for some time and so were able to plan for their impact.
“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.”