Essex-based independent co-op, Chelmsford Star, announced a year-on-year growth in sales of 3.9% at its half-yearly interim meeting this week, increasing to 4.4% growth when measured on a like-for-like basis. The result has been fuelled by excellent performances in its core food and funeral businesses, which CEO Barry Wood puts down to significant investment ‘behind the scenes’ over the last few years.
Core turnover within its convenience stores was reported to have increased by 8.6% on a ‘like for like’ basis. Meanwhile, its travel business showed an increase in bookings of 6.6% ‘year on year’, whilst its funeral directors have experienced a huge jump in gross turnover ‘year on year’ of 31.9% following a strategic overhaul and rebranding. The only fly in the Society’s ointment was the ‘year on year’ reduction of sales in their Quadrant department stores, down 6%, which predominantly relates to the decline in furniture business and insolvency of big brands across the UK high street. Once again, Chelmsford Star confirmed 33p in every £1 spent in any of their stores benefited the local economy.
In addition to its half-yearly trading results, Chelmsford Star Co-op, which operates 52 trading outlets across Essex and won Best For Community Involvement in National awards earlier this year, also announced developments, community support, and the trial of a new student membership initiative.
Having praised his teams for their hard work and commitment, CEO Barry Wood added a word of warning to attending members on what they might expect moving forward; “For the first time in 5 years, high-street shop prices have inflated. Couple this with the rise in interest rates, and as we move into the second half of the year many of us will find our disposable income severely squeezed.”
Overall, the Society achieved an increase in trading profit of 12.34% in the period.
Full details of the audited figures and the interim report are available in the Chelmsford Quadrant Store and via this link.
PHOTO: Photo shows some of the local farmers and producers we support at our Only Way Is Local marquee at Essex Food & Drink Festival. This initiative is one of many that provides support to the region.