Christmas will be a time of happiness and joy but will drive many to stock up on remedies for the medicine cabinet from today (Monday 19 December 2011).

Office parties and family gatherings take their toll on people who are as likely to require a cold and flu cure as opposed to celebrating with mulled wine, according to new research by The Co-operative Group.

Figures from over 3,800 The Co-operative Food and Pharmacy branches across the UK and more than 300 product lines,* show that in the week running up to Christmas, cold and flu product sales rise by 264 per cent** as people stock up.

As illness strikes, sales continue to remain high between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – up 234 per cent from the start of winter***.

On average, sales during December are more than double the level of other winter months.

The research also revealed that for many the holiday season proves one big headache as sales of pain relief products rise by 42 per cent over the festive period.

Heartburn and indigestion products sales also jump up 47 per cent between Christmas and New Year****.

Lisa McCreesh, Clinical Governance Pharmacist at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “The partying season and family gatherings can reduce people’s resistance to illnesses. It is a hectic time and sales of cold and flu remedies as well as headache and indigestion products show that it affects people’s health.”

She added: “It is also important that at a time when people do attend parties and drink alcohol that they follow the recommended guidelines for taking medication to avoid any adverse consequences.”

Scott Shaw, Category Buyer for The Co-operative Food, commented:  “We try to take the headache out of our customers’ Christmas and New Year festivities as much as we can, but inevitably the festive season can take its toll, so it’s advisable for customers to add painkillers and indigestion relief to their Christmas shopping list to ensure they can carry on with their celebrations.”

Notes to Editors:

*Sales of cold and flu tablets, cough mixtures, throat lozenges and decongestants.

**Figures compared from week ending 6 November 2010 to week ending 25 December 2010.

*** Figures compared from week ending 6 November 2010 to week ending 1 January 2011.

****Sales compared from week ending 6 November 2010 to week ending 25  December 2010 and week ending 1 January 2011.

About The Co-operative:

The Co-operative Pharmacy is the UK’s third largest retail pharmacy with nearly 800 branches. It is part of The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over six million consumers.  The Co-operative Group is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas.

The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 106,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.  Further information is available at

For more information please contact:

Alex Wilson

Senior Public Relations Officer – Pharmacy The Co-operative Group

Tel: 0161 2663416/07540 641368


Craig Noonan

PR Manager – Specialist Retail

Tel: 0161 833 1035/07702 505439