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Coop rings up strong results

Switzerland's second-largest retailer Coop has announced the best results in its history, with net profit in 2008 up 11.4 per cent and turnover up 16 per cent.

The group reported a profit of SFr390 million ($331 million) and sales of SFr19.2 billion, increasing its network of outlets to 1,885.

Coop's market share increased 1.5 percentage points to 17.2 per cent, partly boosted by taking over 12 stores previously owned by French hypermarket chain Carrefour. Its share of the food market reached 21.9 per cent.

"We've started the year 2009 well," head of the group Hansueli Loosli said at the presentation of the results near Basel on Tuesday. Turnover by mid-February was already seven per cent up on the previous year.

The Swiss chain employed 53,880 people at the end of 2008, almost 12 per cent more than in 2007.

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