Nisa Retail has pledged to focus on pricing and promotions this year following a tough, but profitable year for the group.

The company announced a positive trading period for the 14 weeks to April 3 with sales of £327.5m, growing 4.9% year on year.

Robin Brown, Nisa Retail chief financial officer, described the first four months of the financial year as “very difficult” as the firm implemented its turnaround strategy following the appointment of Nick Read as chief executive officer in February 2015.

“During the first four months we made some unpalatable decisions which impacted our members. We increased prices and chose to defer member rebates. I know it went down like a lead balloon but it was necessary,” he said.

However, an improvement in performance, driven by sales and volume growth, an enhanced trading margin, better distribution efficiencies and reduced overhead costs has helped the company get back on its feet.

“We’ve achieved our goals to stabilise the business, deliver on our promises and put the previous year firmly behind us,” Brown said. “The most important focus now is price and promotions. Over the last year they haven’t been as sharp as they need to be, but we’re going to do a better job on that.”

The group also held its annual gala dinner on April 12, awarding seven independent stores for their retailing excellence. Paul and Pinda Cheema of Nisa Local, Malcolm’s Stores in Coventry, were among those to take home an award from the event.