The term “record profits” appears on very few financial reports these days.
Red Deer Co-op Ltd. has earned the right to put it on theirs. On Tuesday, it announced 2008 earnings of $7.83 million on sales of $122.8 million.
Those numbers are up from 2007, when earnings and sales were $7.36 million and $107 million respectively — both records at the time.
“Despite the fact everything you read is negative, we’re pretty happy where we’re at,” said Larry Parks, Red Deer Co-op’s general manager.
Co-op members will share in a patronage allocation of $4.25 million this year, with $2.5 million of this amount to be paid out in cash. These amounts also eclipsed previous records: the $4 million patronage allocation and $2.1 million cash payout in 2007.
Cheques should go out by the end of May, said Parks.
High fuel prices during the year helped boost the 2008 sales figure, said Parks. The co-operative also benefited from competitive pricing and selection with respect to its products, he added, and strong customer service supported by the absence of layoffs.
He also noted that membership grew at a record pace during the year, to a current tally of about 40,000 active members. He credited this to the appeal of Red Deer Co-op’s equity program.
Sales at the Home and Garden Centre were down, said Parks, but he’s optimistic that federal stimulus programs like the home renovation tax credit will generate business.
“People are bringing in estimates and looking for stuff right now.
“In the fall, I think you’re gong to see a big push on renovations.”
Patronage allocations for 2008 will be based on each member’s purchases during the year, with an allocation of 2.6 per cent paid on food, pharmacy and liquor purchases, 3.85 per cent on products from the Home and Garden Centre, and 7.5 per cent on petroleum purchases.
The size of each member’s cash payment will depend on the equity they’ve built up with Red Deer Co-op, with these ranging from 40 per cent for members with $250 or less in equity, to 100 per cent for those who have accumulated more than $10,000. Members over 70 years of age will also receive 100 per cent of their allocation amount.
Red Deer Co-op operates two grocery stores, a home and garden centre, two gas bars and two liquor stores in Red Deer. It also has a grocery store, liquor store and gas bar in Lacombe.
In December, it took over the operation of bulk petroleum card lock outlets in Stettler and Elnora that it purchased from Five Star Fuel Ltd. Meanwhile, work is about to begin on a new card lock station in Lacombe.
In addition to its strong sales figures for 2008, highlights from the year identified by Parks included Red Deer Co-op being named the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and receiving a United Way of Central Alberta’s Community Builder Award.
Red Deer Co-op, which operates with a Jan. 31 fiscal year-end, was scheduled to hold its annual general meeting on Tuesday evening.