The Weyburn Co-operative Association had a record year for both sales and profits in 2011, and are planning an expansion of their Suds City location along with planning for their hardware and general merchandise department for the future.
Co-op members and staff heard the details of the past year at their 83rd annual general meeting, held the evening of May 8 at McKenna Hall.
The evening included an election for three board positions, and a farewell to long-time director Ed Pretty, who was honoured for his 41 years of service to the Co-op board.
It was noted by board member Ron Alexander that when Pretty joined the board in 1971, the annual sales was just over $3 million; this year sales reached $73 million.
Pretty told the audience that in his four decades on the board, only three general managers came and went, with the current GM Don Kraft having been there the last 22 years.
The plans for the coming year are to do major renovations to the Suds City convenience store with additional pumps, and a stand-alone two-bay touchless car wash.
For the store itself, the Co-op plans to add on 3,000 square feet to the store in phase two, planned for 2013.
The total sales for the year reached $73.8 million, a new record, and as of March 2012, the Weyburn Co-op surpassed $1 billion in sales since startup.
The Co-op will allocate $3 million to patronage this year, with $2 million to be returned to the membership with equity cheques and statements to be distributed in June. The net savings before taxes were $4.5 million, and by the end of 2012, the Co-op forecasts an accumulated net saving of $50 million since incorporation, with close to $28 million returned to members in cash by 2013.
The following allocation rates were announced at the AGM: for food and pharmacy, the allocation is four per cent; for bulk fuel and card lock it's 6.5 per cent, which works out to six cents a litre for bulk fuel, and 6.5 cents a litre for cardlock operations. For gas bar operations, the allocation will be 6.5 per cent or seven cents a litre; for the Home Centre and fashions, the allocation is two per cent.
Looking at a breakdown of the financial numbers, the sales total is up 17.6 per cent from last year, with the petroleum division seeing the biggest increase in dollars, at 27.1 per cent.
This was led by a 25-per-cent increase in fuel selling prices; at Crossroads, there was an increase of 32.5 per cent in dollars, and 8.7 per cent in litres sold.
The Food Division overall saw an increase of 1.2 per cent, led by a 5.9 per cent increase in sales in meat, and a 4.2 per cent increase in produce sales. Pharmacy sales were down by 2.2 per cent, mostly due to prescription items moving to generic pricing; the actual number of prescriptions went up.
In general merchandise, sales were down by 1.4 per cent; Outdoor Adventure saw a jump in sales of 7.9 per cent, but Expressions was down by three per cent, and with a wet spring and summer, building materials sales were down by three per cent also.
The Co-op was able to end their lease at the mall early, so there were some costs to the Co-op for liquidating their stock and moving everything out either to the Hill Avenue store or to downtown.
In his report, general manager Don Kraft said the good news is that hardware sales in the first 12 weeks of 2012 equalled all of last year of being in the mall.
The Co-op's gross margin, expressed as a percentage of sales, is down from 12.6 per cent from 13.9 per cent the year before. The margin was negatively affected by the price of fuel.
In dollar terms, the gross margin increased by $606,000 this year, with the petroleum division showing an increase of 28.2 per cent or $741,000 from last year; the food division had an increase of 5.7 per cent in margin dollars, and general merchandise saw margin dollars decrease by 33.8 per cent from last year.
The association's operating expenses increased by just over $1.1 million, but as a percentage of sales it was down by 0.7 per cent, with the move out of the mall adding to the expenses this year.
Total staff costs in dollars increased by 2.7 per cent, but as a percent of sales it decreased to 7.6 per cent from 8.8 per cent last year.
In the Member Relations report, Linda Banerjee reported on how the Co-op has been contributing back to the community, including a pledge of $100,000 to the Weyburn and District Hospital Foundation, along with $25,000 to the Triple C Centre to buy 100 seats in the new auditorium there.
In addition to these, the Co-op gave about $100,000 to several groups, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Family Place, Weyburn Silver Seals, the Co-operative Playschool, the Weyburn Skating Club, the Legion, Salvation Army Food bank, the Communithon, the Weyburn Humane Society, Weyburn Beavers and the Weyburn Wor-Kin Shop. The Red Wings 50/50 draws raised a total of $2,266.
Of these, the Co-op donated $6,792 to Communithon, with proceeds from the pancake breakfast and the perogy and sausage lunch, and a $1,000 corporate donation, $241 from Casual Friday and $2,019 from the Co-op staff.
A total of 19 non-profit groups used the Community deck last year to raise a total of $7,500.