(Reuters) – Britain’s Co-Operative Group <42TE.L>, the mutually-owned supermarkets-to-funerals group, reported a lower first-half profit on Thursday, as weakness in its funeral unit offset a strong performance in its food business. Co-op, the country’s sixth largest supermarket operator, said pretax profit fell to 25 million pounds in the 26 weeks to July 6 from 44 million pounds in the same period last year. The company said it had “sensitised” its forecasts to include pessimistic views on risks such as a hit from Brexit. Group sales rose 12% to 5.4 billion pounds, driven by a strong performance in its food business and the purchase of the Nisa convenience chain. Food sales rose 3% to 3.7 billion pounds, with the country’s fifth biggest food retailer recording 22 straight quarters of like-for-like sales growth in the unit. Co-op, which has been recovering since 2013 from a crisis in its then banking unit, said it was planning to address the risks to its supply chain brought on by a “no deal” Brexit. A British demand for supermarkets to prepare for a potentially chaotic no-deal Brexit by stockpiling food is stoking anger in the industry, with bosses saying they should not be blamed if people… Read full this story
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