Tamworth Co-op says its financial results for the 53 weeks to 28 January ‘have exceeded expectations’ despite a 16% drop in pre-tax profit to £1,058,000.
The results show a total turnover of £29,063,000 across 53 trading weeks for the society, which operates 12 food stores, eight funeral service locations and four post offices across Staffordshire, Derbyshire, North Warwickshire and the West Midlands. the previous year’s figures only covered 52 trading weeks, but food sales are up by 2.8% when compared on a like-by-like basis.
The funeral service carried out fewer funerals than in previous years, but its performance was also ahead of internally set targets, says the society
Before distributions, such as dividends, grants and taxation, Tamworth’s £1,058,000 profit was down on the previous year’s figure of £1,260,000. But the retained surplus for the year was £773,000, only 8% down on the previous year.
“The overall situation is positive and better than anticipated,” said CEO Julian Coles. “In the previous financial year, we received government grants, a lease termination payment, as well as other items, and that led to other operating income totalling £159,000.
“This time around that type of income was considerably lower at £32,000.
“In addition, our property investments reduced at the annual valuation process by £69,000, whereas in the previous year a gain of £100,000 was recorded.
“There are other aspects which also need to be factored in, such as the significantly higher electricity and staffing costs our food division faced. All things considered this is a pleasing set of results.”
The acquisition of a shopping precinct in Fontenaye Road, Tamworth, helped to boost the society’s property income from £512,000 to £565,000. The total valuation of the society’s property investment portfolio now stands at £7,640,000.
The report also reveals that Tamworth Co-op’s net assets are valued at £19.2m – £3m up on the year before.
“The increase is primarily down to our pension liability reducing from £5.9m to £2.7m,” said Coles. “That is good news and is mainly due to significant uplifts in the financial markets.”
During the year the society carried out a major improvement programme at its Church Street supermarket. An eco-friendly, state-of-the-art refrigeration and air conditioning system was installed, with the customer service kiosk being relocated alongside the existing post office counter.
The loss-making performance of the post office would need to be regularly reviewed, warned Coles.
A highlight of the year was the ground-breaking £35,000 ‘70 for 70’ donation, which saw 70 local worthwhile causes gifted £500 each to commemorate the late Queen’s 70-year reign.
The handout was the largest single amount ever distributed by Tamworth Co-op. The money was raised from the sale of carrier bags at its Church Street store and chain of convenience stores.
“We’re proud of the level of support we have given to numerous organisations which carry out fantastic work on our doorstep,” said Coles. “They have needed financial help more than ever because of the most challenging economic climate in decades.
“Despite the difficult trading conditions we face ourselves, supporting worthwhile causes in our trading area remains a top priority.”
Looking ahead, Coles said the society is preparing for some considerable additional expenses during the current financial year.
However, he added: “With our strong balance sheet and excellent branch operating standards I believe we are very well placed to meet these challenges.”