Scotmid has warned it faces “major challenges” around supply chain disruption and rising costs.
Retailers have been severely impacted in recent months, with shelves in many shops empty or stocks significantly hit.
The disruption is a result of worker shortages and transport disruption caused by Covid-19 and Brexit.
But Scotmid chief executive John Brodie said the group would do all it can to limit the impact on its stores.
Scotmid having to ‘fill gaps’ in stores
He said: “We are working tirelessly to make sure there’s as much as there possibly can be for customers when they go into store.
“We’ll be using the Semichem distribution network to help fill some of the gaps.
“We accept our stores are not first choice for a large Christmas shop but are important for filling gaps where people need things.
“It is the place to go for bread, milk and other necessities.”
The firm today published its half-year results, which show a trading profit of £3.1 million for the 26 weeks to July 31.
The group also reported an £8.1m increase in turnover, to £205.2m.
Mr Brodie welcomed the results, but said they were still affected by Covid restrictions.
He said people were now returning to Scotmid stores more regularly, and panic buying seen in March 2020 had stopped.
Footfall to the group’s Semichem stores had recovered, but not to pre-pandemic levels.
Scotmid records ‘strong’ half-year results
The chief executive said: “We’re pleased with the overall trading profit being level with last year. It was August before restrictions came back to level zero.
“Even at the moment there is a form of restrictions in place. You wouldn’t say we are back to normal.
“Encouragingly, our result is positive compared to the last pre-crisis interim result in 2019.
“Semichem benefited from having stores open that were closed from late March to July in 2020.
“Our property business has shown resilience coming out of the worst stages of the crisis, with positive signs going forward in both commercial and residential.
“Scotmid funerals conducted fewer funerals in 2021 than the period that included the peak of the crisis in 2020.
“In these difficult times Scotmid Funerals has continued to provide the best funeral possible in memory of loved ones.”
Investment and planning for the future
Mr Brodie said it was important for the business to take a flexible approach, but welcomed recent investments. That includes a new store in Perth.
He said: “There is considerable planning uncertainty.
“Planning ahead is a challenge and knowing how things will play out is also a challenge, so you have to be agile and respond to situations.
“We’ve got one of our largest capital budgets this year. We take a long-term view and we want to invest for the future.”
A total of 19 Semichem stores across Scotland – including two in Tayside – closed last year.
But investments are now being made and Mr Brodie said that reaffirmed their long-term plans.
He said: “Just like we’re investing in food, we’re investing in Semichem. Our plan of capital expenditure demonstrates our commitment to Semichem.”