Extreme weather conditions led to a drop in sales for The Co-operative Group in the final quarter of 2010.

The groups’ overall food like-for-like sales fell 3,2% in the final quarter of 2010, but its convenience estate saw a 2% increase in sales. It claimed the poor weather conditions and the acceleration of the conversion programme of Somerfield stores caused the dip.

Group chief executive Peter Marks labelled the results a “solid performance in a difficult environment”. 

“The exceptionally cold weather created logistical issues for our food stores but our people worked hard to ensure that we provided a great service to all our customers,” he said.

The poor weather did little to hamper sales at Booker. The group reported that in the 16 weeks to December 31, total sales rose by 7.2% with like-for-like sales increasing by 5.4%. It also reported that sales of fruit and vegetables were up 54% on the previous year.

Booker chief executive Charles Wilson thanked the customers who braved the elements. “The 400,000 independent retail and catering businesses that Booker serves have had a difficult quarter in part due to the poor weather,” he said. “We are grateful that they gave Booker more of their spend during this time.”