PLYMOUTH and South West Co-op has announced increased profits for the fifth year in a row.
The annual report for the year ended January 22nd, shows total sales after VAT up to £ 128.549 million, which compared to £ 119.367 million the previous year – an increase of 7.69 per cent.
On a like-for-like basis sales increased by 2.57 per cent.
The society say the growth was due to the refurbishment of food stores and further consolidation of the Launceston Homemaker operation.
Total turnover in food exceeded £ 100 million during the year ? a 10.72 per cent increase on the previous year. This was mainly due to the acquisition of 14 stores formerly owned by Conveco.
In the non-food division, sales ended 1.72 per cent above the previous year's figure.
The Snips group of hairdressing salons had a successful year. For the first time the five branches reached a turnover in excess of £ 1 million.
With a significantly reduced death rate, the funerals section of the society conducted 3,622 funerals, compared to 3,799 in 2003-2004. Despite the fall, the business was successful in achieving sales of pre-need funeral plans.
Members collected points on their Dividendplus card to the value of £ 275,000 ? this represented 6.95 per cent of Plymco's trading surplus returned to members.
Membership of the society increased by 14,000 to 122,448 throughout the year. Many of these were recruited as a result of special members' promotions in non-food stores.
Douglas Fletcher, the society's Chief Executive, said: "Investments have concentrated on acquisitions in food and funeral businesses, investment properties, establishing a new Homemaker non-food store, refurbishments to our food stores and investments into IT systems for future productivity.
"We expect competition pressures to continue in all areas of our business, but we remain confident that our strategy will remain on track. Our management team has the experience and determination to drive the business forward and we have the funds available to support sales growth and acquisition activity."
Society President Barbara Dure added: "The report summarises the notable achievements that the society has made during the year in implementing its strategy based on objectives relating to customers, members, employees and the local community.
"All of these are underpinned by the need to maintain a profitable business and, despite the pressures, which the society's business operations have faced, we have once again produced a credible result for the year with a trading surplus of over £ 3.9 million."