Radstock Co-op reports surplus for 2021 despite pandemic challenges

Investments include a new milking facility at its dairy farm and plans develop the site at its former superstore, which is set for demolition

Radstock Co-operative has reported a trading surplus of £158,444 for the year ending 26 February, down from £644,222 the previous year.

Gross sales were £43.5m, down from £48m, and retail turnover fell to £39m from £43m. Pre-tax surplus was £576,904, down from £661,252.

Net balance sheet liability reduced from £1.4m to £482,000.

Dividends of £66,550 were distributed to members, redeemable at point of sale, and the society partnered with charities Bath Mind and Age UK Bath and North East Somerset, donating £1,100 to each. Donations and colleague fundraising in stores raised another £8,500 for good causes.

In the annual report, CEO Don Morris reflected on a “year of two halves” with the first six months marked by continued demand as Covid-19 restrictions continued, followed by a return to more conventional patterns.

He echoed comments by the other retail societies in their reports about supply chain issues, adding that these “are not yet behind us but as we progress into 2022 availability of product is improving”.

Increased costs of goods, material and fuel has hit profits, he warned, but the society has “carefully managed” them and “against this backdrop it is pleasing to note that all trading operations were profitable in the year.”

He said the squeeze on shoppers’ incomes, alongside rising labour costs and the hike in National Insurance will present challenges in 2022 but the society is “in good shape” to face them.

Other news for the society in 2021 included the purchase of the freehold of its Highbridge, Somerset store, which opened in February 2020, from a joint venture with its development partners.

Radstock’s dairy farm also had a year of consolidation from the £3m farm development and made a surplus for the year. The farm, which contributes to the National Co-operative milk supply, installed a 70-point rotary carousel last year, which the report says creates a calmer environment for the cows.

The society’s former RADCO superstore is set to be demolished this summer and Radstock is working closely with planners to replace it with a new purpose-built supermarket along with complimentary retail units, residential houses and flats, and offices.

And, after a pilot programme, the society is rolling out self-scan checkouts across its estate, but it stresses that customers will still have the option of being served by a member of staff. Investments are also being made in electronic shelf edge labels.

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