Huge Co-op losses to lead to sale of farms

The Co-operative is reportedly set to announce losses of £2bn for 2013, and is likely to sell its farming operations.

Due to the worst losses in The Co-operative’s history, the group is expected to sell its farming assets, which include 15 farms, according to the BBC’s Robert Preston.

A statement was also made on The Co-operative Group’s website which read: “As part of the wider strategic review of all of its businesses, The Co-operative Group has decided that its farms are non-core and has started a process that is expected to lead to a sale of the business.”

Chief executive Euan Sutherland is expected to make this announcement on Saturday, as well as telling members that 750 of its pharmacies, which generated £764m in 2012, are also likely to be sold.

The Co-op has been farming since 1896 and owns 17,200 hectares of land.

A spokesman for NFU Scotland said: “The Co-op’s long-established links with farming will have given the retailer a valuable insight into the challenges faced by all primary producers and just what it takes to get produce all the way from the farm to the shop shelf. Farmers will be saddened to see that useful link broken.

“Produce from The Co-op’s own farms will have filled significant shop shelf space within its UK stores and we would also want to hear from The Co-op on how its sourcing policy may change to reflect the loss of its own farm production base.  We would hope that the public’s demand for Scottish and British produce will continue to be met.”

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