The period from early December through to the Stoke Stampede has been an outstanding trading success. From the Christmas Fayre through to the last customer in the Pub after the stampede the business has performed at or beyond expectations. Out thanks should go to Carolyn, Jason, Jo and Phil, for their contribution to this success. In overall financial terms, in the quarter ending Dec 31st, (YTD in Brackets)  shop sales were £94,301 (£266,188) at a margin of 34.7% (32.8%) giving a gross profit of £32,735 (£87,198). For the Pub there was a significant uptick in business coincident with the start of the food offering late in November. The corresponding numbers for the Pub are sales of £20,211 (£41,725) at a margin of 52.2% (51.45%) giving a gross profit of £10,542 (£21,452).

While the combined gross profit of £108K YTD is undoubtedly impressive it is also true to say our costs have been higher than anticipated. Salaries are by far the biggest administrative expense, but also major increases in the price of electricity and to a lesser extent gas have contributed. It is true to say that our estimate for consumption of electricity was vastly understated, even before the recent major increases in price. And as yet, with the long nights and dull days, understandably we are not yet seeing any major impact from the PV cells. The other cost factor to bear in mind is that repairs and renovations have cost considerably more than anticipated, mostly in terms of equipment and fittings purchased. This number would have been higher without the support of our team of volunteer handymen who have contributed magnificently.

Overall, going forward, it is anticipated that the shop will maintain performance, and the Pub, which is probably around six months behind where we originally planned, for very obvious reasons, will continue to build trade. Success will only be achieved in the long run by providing services that the community want and that being reflected back by participation of the community in the venture. Discretionary spending will be closely monitored as we look to build back reserves.

We are pleased to welcome Ruaridh (pronounced Rory) Moss who has joined us as part of the Government Kickstart programme for young people. Ruaridh lives in the Village and has started his contribution under the guidance of Carolyn and Jo. He already has been trained to serve a mean latte, so why not call in and introduce yourself.

Finally, those of you who regularly visit the shop will have noticed the construction of our fresh produce display area. This has been built by Roger Brown with help from Trevor Hooper. On completion it will permit the fresh produce to be moved from the cafe and the space restored to its intended use.