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The boss of a Lichfield retailer has hailed the “commitment and resilience of staff” after the company reported a 2.7% growth in sales.

Central England Co-op’s annual results saw operating profit rise from £11.9million to £15.5million.

The figures come as the company also revealed it had taken on an extra 1,000 staff during the coronavirus crisis and supplied 7,000 face visors to keep workers safe.

Debbie Robinson, the company’s chief executive, said the co-operative ethos had been at the forefront of their success during a challenging period.

Debbie Robinson

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“Our frontline colleagues have shown outstanding commitment and resilience in helping communities access food and vital essentials and supporting those who have lost a loved one during this global pandemic.

“Our priority has been to protect our colleagues, Members and customers and to provide vital support when they need it most.

“We have also supported our communities in the most meaningful ways possible.

“By coming together and showing each other care, compassion and respect our communities and our Society will emerge stronger out of these uncertain times.”

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op

The company said it would continue to invest in new stores, with plans already drawn up for a revamp of the Boley Park site in Lichfield.

“The first half of the year was steady with an uncertain economic environment due to Brexit, a Competition and Markets Authority investigation into the funeral market and a Financial Conduct Authority review of the sale of pre-paid funeral plans.

“Global, social and economic challenges including climate change and terrorism, along with a continually competitive market, continued to impact all of our businesses.

“The second half of the year saw significant improvement particularly in our food business and this strong trading saw the society outperform sales in the overall convenience market.

“Over the coming year we will continue to invest in new stores together with a major refurbishment programme aimed at improving our best-performing existing stores.”

Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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