The interim profit of Â£1.6 million is the societyâ€™s best ever and has been recorded against a background of tough trading conditions.
The societyâ€™s food, travel and funeral divisions all saw an improvement on last yearâ€™s performance. Food rose by 8.2 per cent; travel commission increased to 7.9 per cent, while funerals maintained its market share and increased sales by seven per cent despite the falling death rate. Its net worth now stands at a record Â£35 million â€” making it one of the most profitable retail co-ops in the country.
Chief Executive Ali Kurji told the News: â€œWe are delighted to achieve continuing record levels of profits in what is proving to be an increasingly challenging period. The 21 weeks to June 14th proved to be our best ever interim trading performance. However, we must not be complacent as the second half will prove even more challenging.
â€œAlthough we are benefiting from a series of policies implemented by the society in recent years, consumersâ€™ disposable income has plummeted over the last 12 months and continues to do so.
â€œThis, along with the downturn in the economy, the fall in house prices and rising fuel and energy costs, means we cannot realistically expect to continue at the same level.â€
Mr Kurji said members and customers will share in the societyâ€™s continued success through the ongoing investment programme which will see refurbishments and extensions at various stores.
Local communities also continue to reap the benefits through the hugely successful Helping Hearts Award scheme, which has pledged over Â£486,000 to schools, charities and good causes since it was launched eight years ago.
Society membership is going strong with more than 72,000 people signed up to the Member Privilege Scheme.
Added Mr Kurji said: â€œWe are delighted to report that, in spite of adverse trading conditions, our sales remain strong. This is due to the loyalty of our customers and also the staff. Without their commitment, we would not be able to achieve this success.â€