The People’s Supermarket tops £1m turnover in first full year of trading

The People's Kitchen saves food waste and has been expanded as a catering business

The People's Kitchen saves food waste and has been expanded as a catering business

Co-operative retailer, The People’s Supermarket, reports turnover in its first full year of trading has topped the £1m mark.

Turnover for the year was £1.2m with a net margin of 34%, 10% above the sector average, the retailer said.

Despite the record sales, the company still made a £100,000 loss but said its net debt is declining dramatically and, with no bank loan or overdraft facilities, the finances are looking encouraging. 

CEO Kate Bull said: “The principle of TPS it is driven by the people for the people and our accounts prove today’s consumers want a retail alternative and are turning their back on the leading multiple retailers, with some even reporting a decline in annual sales. We believe we have stabilised our financial situation, but there is more to do in reducing our net debt and we are now seeking to restructure our organisation to take advantage of the investment opportunities offered by the launch of the Big Society Capital.

“We are grateful to the customers, members and suppliers who have supported TPS and helped to deliver its vision to create a commercially sustainable, social enterprise that achieves its growth and profitability targets as a business while advancing the benefits of the community it serves.”

The People’s Supermarket currently has 750 members, who have served over 375,000 customers since opening in June 2010. Many of the members, have gained training in SAGE accounting, food handing as well as learning skills such as cheese cutting and barista skills. The 25 full time employees, many of which have come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and long term unemployment programmes, have also gained valuable NVQ qualifications in Health and Safety and Retail.

The People’s Supermarket stocks 2,000 lines, up from 650 at launch, and supports 26 local suppliers in the London area which provide sustainable business for the local economy. The biggest area of growth has been within the fresh fruit and vegetables, which now accounts for 25% of revenue, the retailer said. 

Reducing food waste is a core responsibility of the cooperative, and in September 2010, The People’s Kitchen was created. The in-store kitchen saves over two tonnes of food waste, which would usually go to land-fill, and is used to make nutritious sandwiches, ready meals and soups; which have added £160,000 per year in revenue.

The latest venture has been the expansion of The People’s Kitchen into an outside catering business and serving clients such as Virgin, The Economist and NESTA.