Nisa's rescue act for supply-stricken stores brings huge festive sales growth

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 4 Jan 2018

NISA Retail has reported huge sales growth over the Christmas period as it swelled stores served in the wake of the high-profile collapse of wholesale rival Palmer and Harvey.

Costcutter’s partial return to its long-term former supply partner helped post a 17.7 per cent increase in sales in the final 10 weeks of 2017, up more than £40 million to £277.2 million.

Like-for-like sales were also up 1.7 per cent, with fresh produce sales up to 23.1 per cent too, following a major push in the past year. 

A total of 269 new outlets were added with Costcutter alone responsible for 140, after the Scunthorpe giant stepped in to ensure shelves were stocked at the start of December

The good news doesn’t stop there either for the major employer. The West Yorkshire group with national reach is now adding a further 1,090 stores to start trading this month.

McColls also returned, having recently moved to stricken P&H, with 23 hubs served by the Normanby Enterprise Park team, splitting to 668 stores nationwide. More than 100 new stores were the result of natural growth.

‚ÄčArnu Misra, chief executive of Nisa Retail, pictured left, said: “I’m pleased to report that Nisa has enjoyed good Christmas trading in the 10 weeks to December 31. We successfully invested in promotions to assist our members over the key festive trading period, resulting in positive like for likes and good organic growth in store numbers. 

“The total number of stores served by Nisa was also increased by two large new contract wins. Nisa has delivered a strong programme to help drive sales and footfall in our members’ stores, and with the support of our members, we have built a solid foundation for 2018.”

Nisa, in the process of being acquired by The Co-op in an agreed £137.5 million deal awaiting sign off from the Competition and Markets Authority, split from a long term partnership with Costcutter in 2014, triggering tough annual losses which it battled hard to recover from. A total of £500 million of revenue was wiped off, with the management team overhauled to turn round the business.

In 2009 the then Nisa-Today’s board had rejected takeover offers by Bibby Line Group, the major shareholder in Costcutter, which valued the combined business at £134 million. The wholesale Today’s was paired off in the intervening time, and is now a stand-alone entity headquartered in Doncaster. 

In what could prove to be a fascinating circle, The Co-op has the wholesale supply contract with Costcutter, starting in spring 2018 - as the Nisa acquisition, subject to regulatory sign-off, is anticipated to conclude.

While the rapid-add growth of new outlets provided a huge boost and underlined the logistics capabilities with on-site partner DHL, the strategic promotion of in-store range is showing clear benefits too. 

Within the 23 per cent fresh growth, pre-pack fruit was up 38.1 per cent, pre-pack vegetables up 38.6 per cent and ready meals up 43.7 per cent.

READ MORE: Today's main headlines from Humberbusiness.com 

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