Scotmid Co-op announces £5.7m trading profit for 2021

Chief executive John Brodie warned of continued uncertainty as the war in Ukraine follows the disruptions of Brexit and Covid-19

Scotmid Co-op has announced a £5.7 m trading profit in its annual report for the 52 weeks to January 29 – down from £6.4m for the 53-week period for the previous year.

Turnover was £403m, down £6m on the year before, but the society’s net assets increased by nearly £10m to a record £112.7m and net debt was cut by £7.4m, to £17m.

Major store refits were completed at Prestonpans, Barnton, Menstrie and Barlanark, and a new store was acquired in Perth.

And the co-op relaunched its Community Connect Scheme with £84,000 shared between 12 good causes; it also raised £220,000 for its charity of the year partners.

Chief executive John Brodie said: “This has been the second financial year that has been impacted by the Covid pandemic and the varying impact it has had on our businesses. As we have gradually emerged from the crisis and moved to the ‘living with Covid’ stage, the impact on the society’s businesses has unwound.”

Scotmid’s food convenience stores saw trade fall off from the peaks of the lockdown in early 2020, he added, but its health and beauty chain Semichem “made significant progress on the journey to recovery”.

Semichem had faced significant challenges during the pandemic and in April 2021 Scotmid announced the closure of several branches.

The end of lockdown helped Semichem turn things around, said Mr Brodie, with stores fully open over the last 12 months and “a steady improvement in sales as the year progressed”.

But Scotmid’s food stores – in line with the wider convenience sector – “had a reduced local shopping benefit compared to the lockdown periods in 2020.

“The business also faced challenges in supply chain and record sickness levels from the Omicron variant. Our property business had a resilient performance coming out of the pandemic and Scotmid Funerals saw a return of demand for full service traditional funerals.”

Mr Brodie said that planning uncertainty had continued to affect business, with record levels of sickness due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and major challenges in the grocery supply chain, with factors including Brexit and the shortage of HGV drivers.

“We are very proud of our colleagues who have continued to deliver for our communities despite the significant challenges faced,” he added.

“Looking forward, there is still planning uncertainty concerning the exit from the pandemic but it is clear that the society faces significant inflationary cost challenges in 2022. Our core purpose of serving our communities and improving people’s everyday lives will continue to guide us through these uncertain times which have become more uncertain by recent geo-political events.”

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