Southern Co-operative has recorded its fifth consecutive year of sales and profit increase.
The society, which trades across 11 counties in southern England, announced sales figures of £327 million, a rise of 7.8% on last year. Trading profit before interest and tax increased by 8.1% to £22.6m. Since 2010, these figures have grown by 34% and 46%.
During the past year, the society has invested £30m back into the business that has enabled the opening of 26 food stores and funeral homes, as well as a crematorium in East Hampshire.
Chief executive Mark Smith said: “As a co-operative, our priority is to re-invest our profits back into the business for the long term benefit of our members.”
A share of the profits is expected to be paid to members and employees next month, and this level is set to remain at the same as last year, reflecting a dividend of 2p for every £1 spent. Mr Smith added: “Over the past three years the Southern Co-operative has shared in excess of £6.6m with members. In 2013 this amounted to £2.6m, an increase of 15% on 2012, reflecting the continued growth in our business and in members joining us. We are the best performing co-operative nationally in this respect.”
Communities across its trading area also received £850,000 of financial, volunteering and fundraising support.
Added Mr Smith: “These positive results provide a strong foundation for further growth. Our exciting new strategic plan ‘Our Plan 2014 -2016’ builds on this success and consolidates our business, environmental and wider social goals. Our 4,000-plus colleagues who deliver to our customers every day are key to achieving our ongoing success as an independent and sustainable business.”