Steve Browne, General Manager – Food at the Heart of England Co-operative Society.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021


The Heart of England Co-operative Society has smashed its own festive food sales record, celebrating its strongest performance to date.

The Society recorded a 13.34 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in the two weeks to January 4th, with an overall increase of 19.54 per cent.

The increase comes against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive market which is seeing a sharp decrease in footfall amid fears of the spread of coronavirus, and a change in consumer shopping habits in which people are switching to larger, less frequent shopping trips and more demand for home delivery.

The prolonged threat of a no-deal Brexit also had an effect on the market, with signs of panic-buying before the deal was reached at the end of December.

Among the Society’s star performing stores over the two weeks were Wellesbourne, which recorded a 42 per cent increase, Rotherham Road in Coventry, with a 36 per cent increase, Balsall Common with a 25 per cent increase and Long Itchington and Attleborough, which both recorded 23 per cent increases.

Its newest stores at Hinckley and Hockley Heath also recorded strong performances.

Brussels sprouts came top of the list for the best performing product overall over the two weeks.

Alcohol featured prominently, making up four of the top five selling products. These included Lanson Black Label, Taylors Port, Les Pioneers Champagne and Baileys.

Prosecco, double cream, salmon, bacon and mince pies made up the remainder of the top ten most popular products.

Steve Browne is the General Manager of the Society’s Food Division, which operates a total 35 stores in the network which spans Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

He said the Society’s continued programme of investment in its stores, their various locations and accessibility, its members’ loyalty scheme and its new home delivery service, in which online orders can be delivered to the door within one hour, had all been strong contributors to the Society’s festive success.

Also, its stance on customer safety during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the outbreak last year the Society has invested more than £300,000 in making its stores Covid safe.

Safety measures are under constant review. They include:

  • Continued use of sanitising stations at the entrance to every store (HANDS)
  • Staff and customers continuing to wear a mask unless exempt (FACE)
  • Continued use of social distancing throughout the stores (SPACE)
  • Using contactless payments wherever possible
  • Supporting its local communities by helping others who are vulnerable/shielding/isolating
  • Steve said: “Christmas was a different event this year with families not being able to celebrate in larger gatherings, and this was reflected in the sales trends.

    “As a result there were more individual occasions being planned than normal, but with a smaller number of mouths to feed and therefore more demand for slightly different products such as smaller turkeys.”

    He added: “We are delighted with our overall performance thanks to the efforts of all our colleagues who have been selfless throughout the pandemic, supporting the communities we serve.

    “We also thank all of our loyal members and customers who have continued to support their local Co-op throughout.”

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