The turnaround at Dundee-based Spar supplier CJ Lang has continued after underlying pre-tax profits doubled.
Turnover at the firm, which has been trading for more than a century, increased by 3.4% to £194.2 million, while underlying pre-tax profits doubled to £1.5m for the year ending April 30 2020.
The results include the impact of the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw an increase in demand in the final six weeks of the financial year.
The firm announced the financial results at its first ever virtual tradeshow, which saw 170 suppliers exhibiting products to 700 delegates.
The firm employs around 2,000 staff and distributes to 300 Spar convenience stores across Scotland.
CJ Lang chief executive, Colin McLean said: “Prior to the onset of Covid-19 our business was already growing, buoyed by the development of our food-to-go offer, a continued focus on improving and implementing consistent store standards, the development of our independent retailer customer base, and improvements to our offer in order to meet the changing customer needs within convenience retailing.
“Whilst the retail landscape is ever changing we continue to follow our long-term strategic path, driving our back to basics programme, balanced with initiatives to improve our offer and attract more independent retailers to Spar Scotland.”
The firm said it had seen a “huge spike in demand” at the beginning of the pandemic with new customers who were not previously regular convenience store shoppers and the firm had managed to retain many of them.
Mr McLean said: “The onset of Covid-19 at the end of the last financial year, and the subsequent months that followed, have seen the retail landscape completely change.
“Being solely Scottish focussed has enabled us to adapt quickly and react flexibly to the changing retail landscape whilst continuing to provide a first-class service to our independent retail customers and communities at a time when they have needed us most.”
Mr McLean paid tribute to employees for their support and said the firm’s “clear and simple” customer focussed strategy for growth had paid dividends.
The strategy includes growing the firm’s independent retail base, optimising distribution, better purchasing and developing the food-to-go offer.
The firm also announced new digital platforms, including a Spar Scotland customer site and a new business sales track.
The track will allow suppliers the opportunity to purchase wholesale and retail data.
The move, which CJ Lang says is a first in Scotland, will give suppliers an insight into what is selling across the Spar estate, allowing them to target products.
The company said its financial results had “pretty much” met their targets for the last financial year and the business is in a “very strong position” which demonstrated a much stronger platform to secure jobs in the future.
Mr McLean said: “The business is in a much stronger, healthier position than it was for a long time and that gives us a really good opportunity to build on for the future – we have clear strategy of how to take it forward on a much stronger financial footing than before.”