Annual results reveal profit growth of £7.6m

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The East of England Co-op's annual financial statement - published today - has revealed that its pre-tax profits grew to £7.6m last year.

Overall, pre-tax profits increased by £9.3m for 2021/22 financial year, following a loss of £1.7m during the previous year. This was down to an increase in the value of their investment property portfolio and not having the one-off costs they had seen in 2020/21. 

Underlying trading profit of £1.5m was lower than expected following a challenging year which saw disruption to the supply chain in its food stores in late 2021. 

Turnover fell slightly by 0.3% as people's food shopping habits returned to normal following the national lockdowns. Despite experiencing a drop in food sales in 2021/22, they were 5.9% higher last year than in 2019/20 (pre-pandemic), and the decline was partially offset by an increase in sales of more than 50% at East of England Co-op petrol filling stations. 

Elsewhere within the business, the East of England Co-op saw a 1.2% increase in the number of funerals taking place, an increase in income from its investment properties and an 18.3% increase in sales through its stonemasonry business, H L Perfitt, generating sales in excess of £2m. 

Commenting on the results, Doug Field OBE, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, said: "It's been a much tougher 12 months than we anticipated due to factors outside of our control. However, the resolve shown by our colleagues in dealing with the challenges we've faced has been staggering. They deserve all the credit for our positive impact in the region. 

"Despite it being a challenging year, we're pleased to have recorded a growth in pre-tax profits and increases in sales across our investment property, petrol filling stations, funeral and stonemasonry businesses. Overall, we're ending the 2021/22 financial year with a strong balance sheet and sound finances, and we have the funds and resources to continue to invest in growing our business. We will also continue to work hard to improve the daily lives of our members, customers, colleagues and communities. The success of our co-op is based on this foundation, and we'll continue to support our communities through these changing times."

Last year, the East of England Co-op awarded more than £200,000 worth of grants to local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations through its Community Cares Fund. Established in April 2020, the Community Cares Fund offers grants of up to £5,000 to projects offering support on everything from community action, mental health and wellbeing, and food justice. 

The co-op also donated more than £22,000 to 25 foodbanks across Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk last year as it continued to lead the fight for food justice in the region. This included cash donations directly to foodbanks, along with money raised through their foodbank donation gift cards as well as items donated by their members, customers and colleagues via their in-store donation points. 

The East of England Co-op's full annual results can be viewed here: