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Market Commentary

​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 13 April, 2015

Co-op back in profit as it plans further expansion

The Co-operative Group revealed profits of £124m in 2014 last week compared with a loss of £255m in the previous year. It announced that its food and funerals’ businesses had both performed "robustly", notably its LFL sales in food were up 0.4%. The Co-op has begun a three-year plan to steady the business after deep problems emerged in 2013 with its bank, which it has since largely sold off. In the last year, the group has invested in its real estate by adding 82 convenience stores and refurbishing more than 700 stores. Currently, it is the UK's fifth-largest food retailer with almost 2,800 stores and plans to add another 100 outlets this year.

Other British retailers to announce positive results this week include; Boots, Agent Provocateur, John Lewis, Laura Ashley and Waitrose. The owner of Boots reported a massive 33% rise in profits in its first update since a £6bn merger between US retailer Walgreens which was completed last year. The retail pharmacy international division, which manages Boots in the UK, reported sales of $2bn in the second quarter, with annual LFL sales up 2.9%.

It was also announced last week that work will start in autumn 2015 on a £140m shopping and leisure complex in Rushden Lakes, Northamptonshire, after The Crown Estate agreed to forward fund the scheme. Alongside existing owner, LXB Retail Properties, The Crown Estate aims to deliver a complex featuring a home and garden centre, shops, eight restaurants, lakeside visitor centre and a boathouse by summer 2016.

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