Nisa is on course to meet its profit target this year after suffering a loss for the first time in its history in the previous financial year.
The full audit has yet to be completed, but early indications are that the organisation will have reached its profit target of £7.2m for the year to 3 April. Sales for the past two quarters of the financial year have been tracking at about 5% up on the same period in 2014-15, boosted by a successful Christmas trading period.
Chief financial officer Robin Brown told C-Store: “It looks like we have hit our profit expectations, and this has been what we have been focusing on, but just as importantly we have delivered on our promises.
“We have re-established trust: trust from our members that we can provide good deals; trust from our suppliers that we are a stable business; and trust from our employees and financial stakeholders.”
As part of the new financial covenant set up in the wake of last year’s loss, Nisa agreed to submit to a full strategic review of its business. Among the recommendations were better forecasting and the introduction of a new three-year plan, and an expansion of the Heritage own-brand range into new product categories.
The number one recommendation, however, was to make price and promotions the number one focus of activity, and trading director Stewart Smith promised to “throw the kitchen sink” at some heavy promotions at the start of the new financial year.
He said: “Our strategy was to trade our way out of difficulty with profitable sales, and as we enter the new financial year we have more oxygen to create stronger deals for members.”
Recruitment has also been strong, with 111 new stores - including 41 symbol group members - joining in the last quarter of the year, while product availability to retailers averaged 97.5%, Nisa added.
The last quarter also saw Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally charity donate a record sum to charities and good causes. Between January and April there were a total of 363 donations made through the charity to 298 causes, totalling just under £300,000.