Nisa Retail delivered a 4.9% sales increase in the fourth quarter and claimed the performance marked a milestone in the current management’s bid to stabilise the business.

The group also recorded a 5.8% increase in case volumes to 27.3 million for the 14 weeks to 3 April. Total sales for the period were £327.5m, and Nisa said the sales growth came despite sales deflation of 1.8%.

Having recorded an operating loss of £3m for the year to April 2015 - the first loss in its history - Nisa said it remained on track to meet its full-year EBITDA expectations of £7.2m.

Nisa CFO Robin Brown said the increased profitability was down to improved trading margins, distribution efficiencies and reduced overhead costs.

“2015/16 was a challenging year as the new executive team, strongly supported by all employees, focused on stabilising Nisa while restoring confidence and profitability to the business,” he said. “Our retail teams have enjoyed a positive year of recruitment, testament to the faith members place in the long-term future of Nisa’s mutual model and its unrivalled offer.”

During the quarter, Nisa recruited 111 new stores, including 41 in the symbol group and 70 for its independent & specialist division. The group has also announced a significant ramping up of its social media activity in the past year. The buying group now has 133,097 consumers liking its Facebook page, while its Twitter followers have jumped 110% to 15,415.

“Social media continues to grow in importance for businesses so this year we have put even more emphasis on engaging with our consumers,” said Nisa web content manager Sally Lomas. “We have used our learnings from social media and created a guide to help them to excel in this area.”