Strong first half growth for Nisa as interim chief executive is revealed

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 6 Oct 2017

NISA Retail has revealed a strong first half to its financial year, with a double-digit sales increase to £728 million for the Scunthorpe delivered wholesale specialist.

Key to it has been growth in new stores, with a further 409 recruited in the period to October 1, credited with aiding the 12.4 per cent boost.

It comes as The Co-operative continues to take advantage of an exclusivity period to perform due diligence as it looks at a potential take-over.

The statement also brought confirmation that Nick Read, chief executive, has left the business following last week’s announcement, with an interim brought in.

Non-executive director Arnu Misra has taken the role, having served on the board since November

A highly-experienced retail executive, he has held significant senior executive roles at Matalan, Asda, and Loblaw’s in Canada. Mr Misra also spent six years as chief executive of Cannons Health, doubling its membership base before selling to Nuffield Health. 

With a sale process potentially soon to be triggered, it is thought unlikely a permanent appointment will be made until it is settled.

Nisa chairman Peter Hartley said: “I am pleased to report strong trading in the first six months of the year. We have continued to serve our existing members well, and as a result new member recruitment has shown significant gains. We are delighted to have Arnu as interim CEO; he has a wealth of retail experience and is ideally placed to lead Nisa as we seek to optimise the service, benefits and opportunities we can bring our members.”

Bosses said strong member recruitment reflected continued investment in the offer, a good return from marketing initiatives, and Nisa’s award-winning own label range.

Mr Misra said: “I am pleased to be leading Nisa at a time of great change for the convenience sector as top-up shopping continues to increase. I have spent many years working in the retail industry and am looking forward to drawing on this experience to provide Nisa members with an exceptional value proposition that delivers for their customers. 

“I am pleased to see strong new member recruitment in our first half numbers and look forward to a busy final quarter, as the important festive trading seasons draws near.”

Taking in store losses, Nisa enjoyed a net gain of 284 new outlets served from Normanby Enterprise Park. 

Last year's full results, published in June, showed an 18 per cent increase in profits – exceeding the £8.5 million target by £100,000 – despite sales of £1.2 billion coming in 2.6 per cent lower.

They underlined a huge turnaround on 2015/2016’s £5.4 million loss.

Mr Misra is said to have a strong track record developing value for stakeholders and is highly experienced working with low cost business operating models.

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