Nisa has revealed that it made a loss of £3m last year – the first loss in the 38-year history of the business.

Describin

g the year as “difficult”, new chief executive Nick Read said that the loss could be put down to a number of reasons, but said that he was confident that the business would turn around this year.

The ending of the Costcutter contract has a major impact – “any business that loses £450m worth of turnover is going to experience a period of dislocation and transition,” added Read.

Nisa Nisa chairman Nick Read was appointed in January 2015

“Over optimistic” predictions around annual sales performance and the number of Costcutter retailers that would move back to Nisa following the end of the contract also contributed to the loss.

18% of Costcutter stores have returned to Nisa, said Read – 270 stores, a performance he described as “a great effort” – but Nisa had hoped that 25% of those lost stores would return.

Read said that the company had hoped to do £120m of additional sales last year from its existing base, but they fell short of this optimistic prediction and ultimately saw turnover dropped from £1.6bn in 2013/14 to £1.4bn in 2014/15.

“It’s a disappointing result, but if I look at our competitors in the market, particularly Costcutter and their £34m loss, and looking at Musgrave with Londis and Budgens, in context of that with the dislocation we went through this isn’t a bad result. It’s easy to understand and explain,” said Read.

“We had a net store intake of 543 stores, and the reality is that the model feels viable and attractive to independent retailers and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t continue.”

“I’m leading the change that will see Nisa become easier to do business with and speaking to members to see how we can improve loyalty,” added Read.

He described the first couple of months of the financial year as “solid, if not spectacular”.

Read the reactions of Nisa retailers here.