Chelmsford Star lifts trading profit by more than 16% as it celebrates 150th anniversary

The society says its core grocery turnover outperformed the market despite challenging conditions on the high street and strong local competition

Chelmsford Star Co-operative announced an increase in trading profit of 16.7% in its annual report for the year ending 28 January.

The society, which has 52 trading outlets across Essex, says core turnover within its grocery convenience stores rose 3.8% on a like for like basis, putting it ahead of the national average.

The results were announced at the society’s AGM on 8 May, as the society celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Gross takings for the society were £103, 584,570; sales were £80,812,623; and turnover was £73,268,348, with a trading surplus of £1,536,729, an increase of 16.7% after depreciation.

It said its businesses had performed well despite challenging high street conditions and increased local competition, with gross takings at its Quadrant department stores increasing by 2.1% and the travel business generating 8.2% growth in holiday bookings. 

The only business to report a reduction was Funerals, with gross takings down 4.2% which was put down to a decline in the death rate, though client recommendation ratings had risen to 99.8%.

Total funds raised for the society’s charity of the year, local group Kids Inspire, was £34,319.51. Another 103 community groups were supported by other fund-raising initiatives and 345 groups benefited in other ways.

The society raised more than £34,000 for its charity of the year, Kids Inspire

It was also announced 33p in every £1 spent in Chelmsford Star stores stayed in the local economy.

Total membership was reported at 82,414, with 28,234 actively engaged and 3,330 new in the year, and the society was shortlisted as Co-operative of the Year 2017.

The report said the society sourced 99.8% of its electricity from green sources, and 99.86% of its waste was recycled.

Net debt was reflected as an EBITDA ratio of 1.58.

Chief executive Barry Wood said: “As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, it is especially pleasing to see so many of our businesses and initiatives performing well, particularly in the face of current challenges and uncertainties. With Chelmsford Star being the custodian of Co-operation in Essex, I am proud to lead the society as we lay the foundations for the coming decades for our members.”

He added: “With four post offices taken onboard, three new stores, two refurbishments and a closure, our food business in particular has had a lot of churn over the year, so I am particularly pleased with what they’ve achieved, through hard work and strategic planning.”

At the meeting, directors recommended to members a ‘share of the profits’ payment of £6.50 per 1000 points earned, which was ratified by the members.

Elections were fully contested, with three positions filled at board level.

Full details of the audited figures and annual report are available in the Chelmsford quadrant and on-line at   

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