Co-op Admits 'Disastrous Year' Amid £2.5bn Loss
The embattled Co-operative Group has confirmed a loss of £2.5bn for 2013, in what it described as a "disastrous year".
The loss comes on the back of a £529m figure recorded in its 2012 results.
Interim group chief executive Richard Pennycook said: "2013 was a disastrous year for the Co-operative Group, the worst in our 150-year history.
"Today's results demonstrate that but they also highlight fundamental failings in management and governance at the group over many years.
"These results should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who doubts just how serious the challenges we face are."
It said most of the losses were from "discontinued operations" of its banking arm, which totaled £2.1bn.
Group sales were £10.5bn, down from the £11bn recorded in the previous year.
Profit from its food division were down 8% at £247m but it also recorded a goodwill impairment charge of £226m for its purchase of Somerfield stores.
However, it recorded more encouraging figures for some other divisions.
General insurance profit jumped from £13m in 2012 to £33m last year.
The pharmacy chain, which is being offered for sale, saw profit rise by about a fifth to £33m.
And its funeral services business saw sales up 3% to £370m and profit up £2m to £62m.
Co-operative Group chair Ursula Lidbetter said: "During 2013, it became apparent that our governance had fallen far short of the standards to which we aspire as a co-operative society.
"Now is the time to put that right through fundamental reform - we have to act with urgency if we are to lay the foundations for a stronger, healthier co-operative business in the future."
The group's bank division revealed a £1.5bn capital black hole last year and then in March announced a plan to raise another £400m.
Amid risks of the bank's collapse, the group reduced its stake in the institution to 30% as private equity bondholders provided capital - raising concerns of how it would maintain its 'ethical' stance.