Thursday 3rd Febuary

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has once again celebrated a record-breaking festive sales performance.

The Society recorded a sales increase of 6.5 per cent in the four weeks to January 8th – a strong performance in the midst of an ever more challenging market.

Best-selling products in that time included Food To Go, which includes lunch time meal deals and takeaway coffee. The Society recorded a 21 per cent increase on the same period last year and believes that as well as more people returning to work, it is also down to a rise in the number of people working from home taking a break and treating themselves at lunch time.

Impulse chocolate buys rose by 11.5 per cent. The increase is believed to have been aided by the manufacturers expanding their range of novelty chocolates, such as Malteser reindeer, to give consumers more choice for reasonably priced stocking fillers.

Beers and spirits recorded an 8.0 per cent increase over the same time last year, with many people still preferring to drink at home.

The protein category, including turkeys, beef joints and legs of lamb, saw sales increase by 3.0 per cent.

And non-food items – in particular toys – exceeded Society expectations, with Lego and other lower-value toys, aimed at people on a budget, putting in a strong performance.

Best-performing stores were Wellesbourne, near Warwick, and Attleborough in Nuneaton, which each showed significant growth over the period. Rotherham Road in Coventry and New Bilton in Rugby were also among the best-performing stores.

Steve Browne is the General Manager of the Food Division, which operates a network of stores in Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

He said: “This Christmas saw another strong festive performance by the Society, despite the fact we are still in the midst of challenging times.

“Covid continues to create a difficult market with an adverse effect on the supply chain and customer shopping habits which have become more unpredictable in line with the changing restrictions.

“But we are delighted with our overall performance which once again is another record-breaker for us.

“This again is down to our colleagues who continue to pull out the stops throughout Covid and all the associated challenges that come with it, as well as the loyalty of our members and customers who continue to support their local Co-ops.”