Heart of England Co-operative Society report postive trading figures

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A FIRM which recently invested £2.95 million in a new store in Rugby has smashed all records in its trading performance for the 15th consecutive year.

Over the past 12 months the Heart of England Co-operative Society, which also recently invested £658,000 in its newly-branded Co-operative store in Crick and £500,000 on a similar project at its Old Bilton store, achieved gross sales of £87 million and trading surplus of £5.9 million, equating to a 25 per cent increase on the previous year.

The society paid a one-off integration charge of £720,000 towards the Co-operative Group’s acquisition of Somerfield. The charge came from the society’s 2010/11 profits leaving it with a surplus of £5.2 million and 6.6 per cent turnover.

Its net worth today stands at £39 million, an increase of £3.4 million over the past year.

Ali Kurji, chief executive of the society, which operates 55 branches in Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, said: “As a society we can only ever be as good as the staff we employ and we are extremely fortunate in that we have an excellent workforce whose members constantly strive to give 100 per cent. As a local co-operative society many of our staff have worked for us for several years and many more had parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who worked here, so the society is almost in their blood and due to historical family links they want to see it continue to thrive.”

Mr Kurji warned that like all retailers the Society faced an even tougher 12 months ahead, but said he was confident that with the ongoing commitment of his staff, it could keep building on the success already achieved.

He said: “We continue to operate in an extremely subdued economy due to the worst recession in living memory. Consumer confidence is at an all time low, particularly with inflation and price rises further impacting on people’s disposable income.

“We are facing an extremely challenging year this year with a great deal of uncertainty about inflation. There is a real danger of rising interest rates and it seems a double dip recession may be unavoidable.

“Thankfully our staff are as much dedicated to the ongoing success of the society as myself and I would like to thank every member for their commitment over the past 12 months. I look forward to working with them in the year to come.

“I hope the vouchers go some way to demonstrating our gratitude for our achievements so far.

“Despite the tough conditions we face I am sure we can continue to succeed if we all continue to pull together.”