Co-op has seen its total revenue increase 7%, while underlying profits are up 50% like for like, the company has announced in its annual results.

Total revenues grew 7% to £10.9bn, driven by continued strong performance from food, including annualisation of Nisa wholesale, acquired in May 2018.

Revenue in food rose 3% to £7.5bn, with like-for-like sales up1.9%. Co-op has now delivered six years of like-for-like food revenue growth.

The group has returned £76m returned to members and local causes.

Over the last year Co-op has opened 79 new stores, refitted 152 stores and extended 10.

The group has launched 554 new products and improved more than 1,000 existing product lines, including the Irresistible pizza range and has rolled out the GRO vegan range. It plans to expand the vegan offering through 2020.

Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Co-op colleagues in food and funerals were recognised as key workers, keeping communities and the economy working. Some 56,000 front line colleagues were rewarded with £150 bonus and an extra day’s holiday, all worth more than £13m. Co-op created temporary jobs for more than 7,000 people who were out of work as normal workplaces closed. All posts were filled within seven days.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive of the Co-op, said: “The Co-op made further financial progress through 2019, showing that co-operation is working. While we didn’t know it at the time, that performance set us up well to withstand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and to enable us to support the communities we operate in.

“No part of our business has been unaffected by the outbreak of the virus and we have played a critical role in communities throughout the UK. Our Food business has helped to feed the nation and our Funeral colleagues have been there for families at their time of greatest need.”

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