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Turnover decreases at retailer CJ Lang

Convenience store retailer CJ Lang has seen turnover drop from £239.2 million to £200.1m following the sale of its cash-and-carry business and a reduction in trade with a major customer.

As a result, the Dundee company, which holds the SPAR franchise licence in Scotland and runs more than 100 stores, saw its pre-tax profits drop from £5.5m to £2m in 12 months to April 30, 2012.

In accounts filed at Companies House, the directors said it had been a year of "transition" for the business.

They added: "In common with other operators in the sector, our like-for-like business experienced downward pressure on sales and margins as a consequence of consumers having less disposable income.

"In what was a challenging year, the group successfully achieved its budget while the balance sheet remains strong.

"As part of the strategic business restructuring, 19 stores have been added to our SPAR company store portfolio since selling the cash-and-carry business in late 2010, which, once fully established, will deliver a greater profit contribution in future years."

According to the accounts, a further six SPAR stores have been acquired since the financial year end.

Average staff numbers increased in the period from 2084 to 2090, while employee costs decreased from £27m to £25.4m.

Directors' emoluments fell from £1.8m to almost £1.4m, with the highest paid seeing their rewards drop from £801,000 to £599,000.

Dividend payments were steady at £1.12m, with the accounts stating majority shareholder Joan Scott-Adie received £572,600 and other members of the Scott-Adie family getting £533,120. Net debt reduced from £6.6m to £5m.

The business can trace its roots back to the early 20th century, when Charles J Lang went to work in a family grocery in St Andrews, and in 1919 bought the Max Poulsen food wholesale business in Dundee.

In 1960, the company joined VIVO Group Trading, which amalgamated with Spar in 1975.

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