LOTHIAN Borders & Angus Co-op has announced record profits of almost £ 5 million for the year ending 31st January.
Chief Executive Bob Jamieson described the 26.4 per cent increase in operating profits as: "A magnificent achievement which catapults us onto a level that will be admired throughout the Movement.''
Turnover rose 2.4 per cent to £ 107.2 million over the previous 12 months despite the closure of the society's Dumfries superstore midway through the year and food division profitability rose by 28 per cent.
However, the society's operating profit leaped by more than £ 1 million to £ 4,938,000 or five per cent of net sales, boosted by extended operating hours in food stores, improved distribution, strong marketing and effective cost control.
The society achieved the result with fewer staff as productivity continued to improve, helped by training initiatives.
"The overall performance has been most encouraging in the face of continuing stiff competition in many of our trading activities,'' said Mr Jamieson.
"The society has accumulated a significant amount of cash which will allow for substantial future development including acquisitions, should the right opportunities be forthcoming.''
Mr Jamieson announced that the society's directors had agreed to allocate up to two per cent of operating profit in the form of community dividend which would enable the society to step up its community relations programme and support and promote more local causes.
"One of the most pleasing aspects of these financial results is that we are able to share our success with people in the communities in which we trade,'' added Mr Jamieson.