Co-operative announces ‘disastrous’ results

The Co-operative has announced £2.5 billion (bn) losses for 2013, in a year that the interim chief executive called “disastrous”.

The group said the results, which are the worst in the group’s 150-year history, have mainly been down to significant losses at The Co-operative bank. However, reduced food sales and increased central corporate costs were amongst other factors contributing to the performance.

Richard Pennycook, interim group chief executive of The Co-operative Group, said: “2013 was a disastrous year for The Co-operative Group, the worst in our 150-year history. Today’s results demonstrate that, but they also highlight fundamental failings in management and governance at the group over many years. These results should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who doubts just how serious the challenges we face are.”  

In the food sector, sales fell from £7.44bn to £7.24bn last year, and underlying operating profit was down from £269 million (m) to £247m.

Ursula Lidbetter, chair of The Co-operative Group, said: “During 2013, it became apparent that our governance had fallen far short of the standards to which we aspire as a co-operative society. Now is the time to put that right through fundamental reform – we have to act with urgency if we are to lay the foundations for a stronger, healthier co-operative business in the future.”

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