Profits fall at East of England Co-op not as bad as feared

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A fall in profits of £18.3m at The East of England Coop, was not as bad as anticipated, the group has said.

The group, which is to open a food shop in Bury St Edmunds, saw an underlying trading profit of £9.7m and £335.1m turnover for the year.

Doug Field, executive officer – finance and technology said: “Every sale and peny of our turnover has been hard wonduring these tough times.

“Although we have seen a drop of £18.3m on last year, we only had 52 weeks trading, compared to 53 in the last financial year.

“On a comparable 52-week basis our turnover dropped by a modest 3.3 per cent.”

Its food division saw a £1.8m like for like sales increase, while its forecourt business returned to profits with a 5.3 per cent sales increase, and its travel and funeral business saw a 10 per cent increase in turnover.

“Overall we consider it to be a major achievement to have secured an underlying trading profit of £9.7m,” said Mr Field.

“Although this is down £3m from last year this has come as no surprise to us.

“We expected to see a reduction in profits during a year which has been tough for the entire retail industry and its consumers.

“We have remained true to our co-operative values and continued to support our members and customers by not passing on the increased distribution and commodity costs we have incurred.”

The East of England Co-op remains committed to its long-term strategy to grow the Society to a £450m turnover business which returns over £5m to its members and communities.

They have continued with their ambitious plans to grow the business, investing more than £2.5m on expanding their property portfolio including the new foodstore in Out Risbygate, Bury.

The £4.2m acquisition of stonemasonry company Perfitts, in Diss, has already contributed to the double digit turnover growth within the East of England Co-op’s funeral division.

The member-owned Society has over 200 trading outlets across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

It recently held its annual meeting at which Beverley Perkins was voted onto the board of directoirs, while Colin Barrett, Chris Newbury, John Pendle and Sally Chicken were re-elected as directors.

The groups annual report is available at www.eastofengland.coop