British co-operative group Co-op has announced a 17% rise in its underlying operating profit for the fiscal year 2023 (FY23), reaching £97m ($122m) – up from £83m in FY22.  

The group’s operating profit also saw a turnaround, posting £66m compared to an operating loss of £12m in the previous year. 

The company’s underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation remained stable at £468m in FY23, only slightly down from £473m a year earlier.  

However, Co-op’s profit before tax saw a substantial decline to £28m from £268m in the previous fiscal year.  

The retailer’s revenue decreased slightly to £11.3bn in FY23, down from £11.5bn in FY22. Revenue, excluding the impact of the petrol forecourt sale, increased 4.7%. 

Food revenue was marginally lower at £7.3bn, primarily due to the sale of the petrol forecourt business.  

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Online sales continued their upward trajectory, reaching £311m, a significant increase from £222m in 2022.  

The retailer also managed to reduce its net debt to £82m from £322m in the previous year, marking a reduction of £827m since 2021. 

Co-op registered more than one million new members in FY23, taking its active membership base to more than five million, a 14% increase year-on-year.  

The retailer is well-positioned to drive further growth, with a clear focus on increasing its member-owners to eight million by 2030. 

Co-op chief executive Shirine Khoury-Haq said: “Our relentless focus on strengthening our financial position has enabled us to navigate a highly turbulent external landscape, delivering increased value for our member-owners and planning for a future with confidence and with membership firmly back at the heart of our business. 

“2024 marks a significant shift as we begin putting in place the building blocks for our strategic growth plans across our Co-op, with a focus on growing our existing businesses including increasing our share of the quick commerce market and expanding our presence within the life services sector.” 

In March 2024 Co-op confirmed a substantial pay increase for its frontline store colleagues, with customer team members seeing their hourly rate rise from £10.90 to £12 from 1 April 2024.