Convenience retail wholesaler Nisa, owned by the Co-op Group, says it enjoyed a strong year in 2021 despite sales falling from the pandemic peak.
In a similar pattern to the rest of the grocery sector, Nisa enjoyed record sales of £1.6bn in the lockdown year of 2020, which last year fell back to £1.38bn
In his report for the year ending 2 January 2022, chief operating officer John McNeill said the chain enjoyed profits of £7.5 m – down from £10.9m in 2020, but way ahead of the £9.4m loss for 2019.
Mr McNeill said in the report: “In 2021, the business experienced the roll off of a major customer in the early part of the year, as well as a Covid-19 sales reversal, compared to the 2020 record breaking turnover year.
“The business has delivered another strong profit in 2021, with marking improvements offsetting increased distribution costs.
“The gross margin improvement was driven by an improved sales mix, with lower sales of tobacco and licensed products, partly driven by the reversal of Covid benefit enjoyed in 2020, as well as price rises and other margin initiatives.”
The year saw Nisa, like other retailers, struggle with truck driver shortages but it also doubled its rate of new store openings, and celebrated the 1000th Nisa fascia with the opening of a Camden store run by the LA Food group.
Innovations continue at the business, including sustainability measures such as the announcement last month that all Nisa consumer leaflets will be produced on paper that is produced from 100% recycled fibre and is FSC certified.