A CHAIN of grocery stores is planning to grow its £13.8m turnover over the next year as it eyes up 10 more shops to add to its already expanding property portfolio.
North East Convenience Stores (NECS), which is owned and operated by the Vadhera brothers, operates 19 stores across the region from Blyth down to Eston in Middlesbrough and employs around 250 staff.
In the year to November 30 2011, NECS posted pre-tax profits of £412,144, up from £308,709 in the previous year, on sales of £13.8m. Turnover was up from £11.7m in 2010.
The Blyth business said heavy investment in buying stores, allied to training and development, marketing and developing its supplier network had helped it flourish in a difficult economic climate. Sanjeev Vadhera, director of North East Convenience Stores, says the economic downturn has helped convenience stores in recent years.
He said: “People are doing smaller shopping trips more often because going for a big shop in one of the major supermarkets can cost more than £100 in one fell swoop.
“Shoppers are being more selective when buying their groceries; pricing up everything they buy, while juggling quality with value.
“We’re still targeting double-digit growth and our staff numbers are up 30% on last year. We now have 250 people and as and when we open new stores that number will grow accordingly.
“Our profits have increased more than 20% in what has been a very difficult environment for the retail sector. We have invested heavily in the physical appearance of our stores and our involvement in local projects means we have kept an active presence in the communities we serve.
“We’re fast becoming one of the major employers in the North East which is a huge achievement for a family-run retail business.”