Monday November 24, 2014

Co-op reports record sales in 2011

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Battlefords and District Co-op is allocating $2.48 million to member share accounts after a strong 2011 performance.

That news came out of the Co-op’s annual meeting held April 25 at Territorial Place Mall.

General manager Pat Smith described it as a “record year” for the Battlefords and District Co-op with “record allocations to its members.”

The allocation is up from the previous year’s $1.68 million allocation. It will be allocated at the following rates: for Marketplace Food, Pharmacy, Glaslyn Pantry Store 2.67 per cent, for Agro 1.50 per cent, Home Centre 1.50 per cent and fuels, propane, oils and grease at eight per cent.

The $2.48 million allocation to members in 2012 was described by Smith as “a record by far, we haven’t given that much in a while.”

“We’re glad to give that back to the membership, that’s what co-ops are all about.”

It comes on the heels of a strong fiscal year ending Jan. 28, 2012, where record sales were reported.

Sales of $72.8 million were achieved in 2012, compared to $66.2 million the previous year. According to the management report from Smith, sales growth came in most operating departments but most of that increase came in fuels.

Agro, bas bar and bulk petroleum were the largest contributors to the increase. Petroleum liters grew to 33.6 million, an increase of 1.8 per cent. Home Centre and Pharmacy also contributed to the growth.

Smith attributes the strong sales on the fuel side to good service. As well, “we also have a pretty strong equity program associated with it,” said Smith, with good rebates on the fuel purchases.

Gross margins were $12.8 million compared to $11.8 million last year, and the local income increased to $841,700 compared to $471,000 the previous year. The patronage refund of $4.1 million from Federated Co-operatives Limited was $1.2 million higher than the previous year.

Expenses were $11 million or 15.1 per cent compared to $10.5 million or 15.8 per cent from the year before. Higher staff wages and benefits led to a 4.5 per cent increase in this area, while much of the rest was the result of the pharmacy modernization that was finished this year and the resulting $400,000 cost.

“Expense controls, salaries and wages were held reasonably in line,” Smith said.

The Battlefords and District Co-op has also entered into a couple of new initiatives in the past year. One was an agreement with the Co-op in Radisson to deliver their fuel, while the other agreement was with the Hafford Co-op to take over their accounting. Smith calls it a way for all the co-ops in the area to be more efficient and effective.

The Co-op completed a Pharmacy expansion and also modernized the touchless car wash for $390,000. The mall interior upgrade started in late 2011 with costs of $1.1 million and a second tri-axle petroleum delivery unit was purchased. Numerous other assets were also replaced.

The mall has been completely rented, according to Smith’s management report.

The Co-op paid in excess of $900,000 cash back to members last year for estate claims, over-age-70 requests, moved-away applications, members with equity in excess of $14,250 and the general cash repayment.

Another general cash program will proceed in late May, with Equity Days scheduled for May 22 and 23 in North Battleford at Territorial Place Mall, and in Glaslyn on May 24. That’s when the cheques will be handed out, said Smith.

Smith says the Co-op’s equity days will be coinciding with the grand reopening of the newly-renovated mall, as well as launch the Co-op’s 80th anniversary celebrations at the same time.

In their board of director’s report it was reported that the fixed assets and major repairs during 2011 amounted to approximately $2 million. Their five-year plan calls for continuing capital and property upgrades along with asset purchases totalling $11.3 million. It is anticipated no long-term debt will be required, according to the board.

Smith said the Co-op is currently looking for land for a card lock and for a gas bar. Those will be two projects they are gearing up for, he said.

In their human resources report, Battlefords and District Co-op reported employing on average 227 persons at any given time, and had hired 104 staff during the year. Currently, 19 per cent are immigrants and First Nations/Métis, 20 per cent are under age 18 and six per cent are over age 60.

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