Source: CJ Lang

CEO Colin McLean said the results show its growth strategy is beginning to ‘drive positive change’

Scottish Spar operator CJ Lang has reported a growth in turnover for the first time in four years.

The 100-year-old business, based in Dundee, said turnover was up 2.6% to £187.9m for the year to 30 April 2019.

The wholesale and retail business reported a 56% growth in underlying profits to £764,000. However, a one-off cost of £1.6m to cover asset write-downs and lease charges resulting from the closure of a number of long-term loss-making stores resulted in a net loss of £863,000.

Eight stores - Invergordon, Troon, Aberdeen, Gretna, Dumfries, Dundee, Ayr and Carnoustie - were put up for sale in December 2018.

CJ Lang CEO Colin McLean, who joined the business in early 2018, said the results show its current growth strategy is beginning to ‘drive positive change’.

The strategy set out a ‘Back to Basics’ program which included improvements to the offer and growth of its symbol arm.

It appointed company stores director Brian Straiton in January to improve efficiency and consistency of store processes.

“Buoyed by last year’s good summer, our growth is a result of several key changes, including a focus on improving and implementing consistent store standards, the development of our independent customer base and improvements to our offer in order to meet the changing customer needs within convenience retailing,” said McLean.

“During the year we have had to take difficult decisions necessary to improve the profitability of our business and either disposed of or closed several long-term, loss-making stores. Like many other retailers, we are also experiencing significant cost increases in a highly challenging retail market.

“As the Spar wholesaler for Scotland, we are focused on providing our customers with our excellent Spar award-winning own label ranges, together with the best local ranges and deals to give them a real reason to shop in our stores.