Despite a dip in overall profits, Tamworth Co-operative Society’s latest financial results have exceeded expectations across both its food and funeral divisions.
The results show a total turnover of £29,063,000 across 53 trading weeks for the year ending on January 28, 2023. Although the previous year’s figures only covered 52 trading weeks, food sales are up by 2.8 per cent when compared on a like-by-like basis.
The funeral service carried out fewer funerals than in previous years, but its performance was also ahead of internally set targets
Before distributions, such as dividends, grants and taxation, the Society reported a profit of £1,058,000, 16 per cent less than the previous year’s figure of £1,260,000. However, the retained surplus for the year was £773,000 which narrowed the gap down to eight per cent.
Tamworth Co-op chief executive Julian Coles said the board was pleased with the results as there were several factors outside the Society’s control which weighed down the bottom line.
“The overall situation is positive and better than anticipated. In the previous financial year, we received government grants, a lease termination payment, as well as other items, and that led to other operating income totalling £159,000,” he explained.
“This time around that type of income was considerably lower at £32,000.
“In addition, our property investments reduced at the annual valuation process by £69,000, whereas in the previous year a gain of £100,000 was recorded.
“There are other aspects which also need to be factored in, such as the significantly higher electricity and staffing costs our food division faced. All things considered this is a pleasing set of results.”
The acquisition of a shopping precinct in Fontenaye Road, Tamworth helped to boost the Society’s property income from £512,000 to £565,000. The total valuation of the Society’s property investment portfolio now stands at £7,640,000.
The report also reveals that Tamworth Co-op’s net assets are valued at a healthy £19.2m –£3m up on the year before.
“The increase is primarily down to our pension liability reducing from £5.9m to £2.7m,” explained Mr Coles. “That is good news and is mainly due to significant uplifts in the financial markets.”
During the year the Society carried out a major improvement programme at its Church Street supermarket. An eco-friendly, state-of-the-art refrigeration and air conditioning system was installed, with the customer service kiosk being relocated alongside the existing post office counter.
Mr Coles warned that the loss-making performance of the post office would need to be regularly reviewed.
A highlight of the year was the ground-breaking £35,000 ‘70 for 70’ donation. Seventy local worthwhile causes were gifted £500 each to commemorate the late Queen’s 70-year reign.
The handout was the largest single amount ever distributed by the Tamworth Co-op during its long history. The money was raised from the sale of carrier bags at its Church Street store and chain of convenience stores.
The Society also gave Tamworth Samaritans £8,000 during the year from the proceeds of its Community Dividend Fund.
Mr Coles said the pandemic, followed by record levels of inflation, put enormous pressure on community groups.
“We’re proud of the level of support we have given to numerous organisations which carry out fantastic work on our doorstep. They have needed financial help more than ever because of the most challenging economic climate in decades.
“Despite the difficult trading conditions we face ourselves, supporting worthwhile causes in our trading area remains a top priority.”
Looking ahead, Mr Coles said the Society is preparing for some considerable additional expenses during the current financial year.
However, he added: “With our strong balance sheet and excellent branch operating standards I believe we are very well placed to meet these challenges.”