Independent stores group Nisa has reported “a significant improvement in profitability” over the 10 week Christmas trading period to 3 January 2016. Profit for the period was £520,000, compared to a loss of £2.4m in 2014. The festive period also saw Nisa produce volume growth of 5.7%, while sales value rose 6.3% year on year to £254.3m, against a backdrop of sales deflation of 2.1%.
A spokeswoman for the group said the improved Christmas trading performance was assisted by sharply priced promotional offers that were well received by members, and came as the firm’s turnaround strategy continued to gain momentum.
The stand out category performer was chilled, growing 23.8% or £8.2m to £42.9m, further emphasising the growing importance of fresh and chill for the convenience sector, said the spokeswoman. Confectionery, a seasonal favourite, also registered a sales increase of 12.8% to £17.1m in the 10 week period.
Nisa’s turnaround strategy, which started with the appointment of Nick Read as CEO in February 2015, has led to an improvement in profitability, driven by sales and volume growth, an enhanced trading margin, better distribution efficiencies and a successful reduction of fixed costs, according to the group.
In October the business also secured a new two-year banking facility, providing an increased level of finance to support the company’s growth plans.
Nick Read, CEO of Nisa Retail, commented: “It is very pleasing to report improved trading, as many of our initiatives gain momentum. Last year the business made a loss during the Christmas period, so to register a profit of over half a million pounds, in a challenging marketplace and during a turnaround year for Nisa, is particularly gratifying. Our continued investment in a strong own brand range and competitive pricing has helped our independent retailer members to perform well through a key seasonal trading period – underpinning Nisa’s position as the partner of choice for convenience retailers.”