SCOTMID is set for further organic and acquisition growth following the announcement of its financial results for the year ended 31st January 2004, which saw turnover increased by 32 per cent, from £ 223 million to £ 295 million.
The society also announced a near 60 per cent increase in operating surplus (before exceptionals) for its overall business from £ 5.1 million to £ 8.1 million. The society's net worth increased by £ 13 million from £ 81 million to £ 94 million, an increase of 16 per cent. Scotmid's largest-ever acquisition of M&S Toiletries (Holdings) Limited provided an added boost to the strong underlying figures.
The property investment portfolio increased substantially from £ 49 million to over £ 60 million, up nearly 23 per cent.
Colin Bird (pictured), Chief Executive of Scotmid, told the News: "This is a strong set of figures which confirms our position as one of the top businesses in Scotland. Our growth over the past few years sees us in excellent financial condition, which will allow us to embark on a pro-active acquisition trail and enable us to continue to grow organically.
"Modernisation will continue with £ 20 million of capital expenditure being allocated to allow further new technology developments into Scotmid and Semi-Chem and give us the financial muscle for future acquisitions.
"Our retail division had another exceptional year with the food department reporting a strong performance. Like-for-like sales were ahead of expectation and gross profit increased.
"Semi-Chem again produced robust figures with major sales increases particularly in fine fragrances. This growth was the catalyst for an aggressive store-opening programme commencing with eight new stores."
Mr Bird continued: "The investment property portfolio once again increased substantially with highlights including the conversion of the former works department into a 22 apartment courtyard development in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, and the nearby development of 1-42 Patriothall which will provide significant benefits to the tenants and the society in the years ahead.
"Scotmid Funeral Services has seen significant improvements. Thomas Brown's of Broxburn was refurbished and work is underway to convert a former fire station on Angle Park Terrace in Edinburgh into a funeral home and administration centre.
"We have always recognised that our employees and our customers are the key to our success. The nine per cent improvement in staff turnover demonstrates that the culture change initiatives previously undertaken have been effective.
"Additionally all our service departments have been involved in supporting the integration of M&S Toiletries into the business. Human Resources, Finance and IT Departments have been heavily involved due to changes in staffing structures and the need to integrate the systems.
"Finally, maintainable profit has always been the pre-requisite for the reintroduction of the Dividend. Our recent results highlight we are now in a position to go forward with this plan. A Group has been formed within the business to develop a practical scheme to enable us to re-instate the Dividend for our members."