State of the Co-op, April 2021

To Our Community,

Last night at the Co-op Board of Directors meeting, I presented a brief overview of the Co-op’s operations for the month ending March 2021. Below are the highlights.

Big Picture

Our Co-op continues to experience strong and consistent growth in:

  • consolidated food store sales
  • the number of individual items sold
  • gross margin
  • and shopper basket size

Monthly Sales

Other specific topics of interest include the following:

Grocery, Meat, Produce, Dairy, and Frozen Foods continue to provide strong sales growth. Members accounted for approximately 79.7% of March’s sales versus 77.6% of last March’s sales.

For the year-to-date period ending March 31, 2021, consolidated basket size—meaning the price shoppers paid for their food—was once again greater than the same period last year. Gross margins (sales minus cost of sales) were approximately the same as the comparable period last year.

Gas prices nationwide have risen over the past several weeks. Our average price is approximately $0.03 more per gallon compared to the same period last year, and $0.28 more than March last year. For the month of March, we have pumped close to 1,435 fewer gallons than the same period last year. Sales of our non-gas business was ahead of budget for the month.

Reducing Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions
Our organization has pledged to significantly reduce our CO2 emissions over the next several years, and is working towards becoming carbon neutral. Every store update or renovation, or replacement of equipment or vehicle, has this goal in mind. This is front and center with the Lebanon refrigeration project and embedded in the solar contract recently signed that will provide some of the power needs for our White River Junction store.

Projects like this one will be a multi-year effort. Our teams are currently having exploratory, high-level conversations with Efficiency Vermont, a program that provides consultants and strategies to help organizations increase energy efficiency. As I wrote to Co-op employees on Monday, their teams are excited about working with a business of our size and scale. They also want to ensure that all parties involved—the Co-op management and Board and Efficiency Vermont—are using the same language to describe the same end goals. The next stage of the project is to work with Efficiency Vermont to develop several scenarios, which will lay out possible steps and milestones we need to consider to attain net zero emissions by 2030.

A multidisciplinary team is working together to establish specific, measurable goals for growing our local product sales over the next three years. The team is also working on drafting a local products policy to help develop strategies to meet our local goals.

Customer Experience
Our teams have been using CX data (CX is the ongoing customer survey program at the food stores) to develop a process for identifying and improving the customer experience.

Wrap Up
My thanks to all of our members and shoppers for the continued support, and as always, reach out to me anytime if you have feedback or questions. In the meantime, remember to be kind to one another and to yourselves. We look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.

Onward and upward,



The following two tabs change content below.

Paul Guidone

Paul Guidone, CFA, spent the better part of four decades in the investment management business here and abroad. He held positions ranging from analyst through Deputy Chairman and Group CEO, at organizations such as Citigroup (US) and The HSBC Group (London and Hong Kong). He joined the Co-op in 2016 as the CFO and in 2018 became Strategic Advisor to the General Manager. Paul was appointed by the Co-op Board as interim General Manager in March 2020 and General Manager in September 2020. To contact, email

Latest posts by Paul Guidone (see all)