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Co-op stores see continued recovery

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The Co-operative Group says it has made progress this year, with sales at both its food and funeral home businesses growing.

Profit was £23m for the year, down from £124m last year, when the figure was boosted by a one-off gain of £121m from selling parts of its business.

Sales in its 2,800 food stores grew 1.6%, to give a £250m profit.

The business has the largest chain of funeral homes in the country. Profits there were £78m as sales rose by 9.9%.

Group underlying profit before tax was £81m, up from £73m last year.

Chief executive Richard Pennycook is taking a pay cut of 60%. He says the business is now back in calmer waters and the reduction reflects the revised demands of the current job.

The Co-op statement says: “At his request, and with the full support of the board, the chief executive has agreed a very large reduction in his own remuneration package.”

His base salary will fall from £1,250,000 to £750,000.

The business is expanding in both food stores and funeral homes.

It plans to open another 200 funeral homes in the next three years, which will increase the size of its estate to more than 1,100 homes.

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