Turnover for continuing operations increased by 3.4 per cent to £205m for the 28 weeks to August 8th.
Food retail, the society’s largest business, has now completed its 14th successive quarter of like-for-like sales growth, despite intense competition and the current economic climate.
The society said the level of like-for-like sales performance in food retail has been maintained from last year at a rate of increase in excess of five per cent, but with food inflation having now come down significantly, this level of increase is expected to reduce in the months ahead.
Chief Executive Richard Samson said: “We have continued to refurbish and re-brand many of our stores under the East of England Co-operative banner and they are showing good sales increases as our customers appreciate the services and facilities we are providing.
“The financial strength of the society, which continues to operate with no net borrowings, has enabled us to develop our food business across the region with several new stores in the pipeline, including one which is set to open in Essex nest month.”
Added Mr Samson: “We’re gaining new members every week and the value of our dividend scheme continues to be a significant benefit, with over £4.2m paid out to members earlier this year.
“The hard work and commitment of colleagues across the society is once again a key factor in our success and this was recognised by the payment of an employee dividend for the second successive year. Based on our financial results from last year, over £800,000 has been shared among nearly 3,000 qualifying colleagues.”
The difficult economic environment, coupled with additional new competition in the society’s trading area, will ensure that the months ahead remain challenging, but East of England says it is committed to protecting and developing its business.
“Costs related to the transfer of our department store business to Vergo Retail in July, along with unrealised investment property impairment due to the property market downturn will have a negative impact on this year’s profitability,” said Mr Samson.
“However, despite continuing difficult trading conditions, it is very pleasing to note the progress being made in our underlying trading profit.”