The dramatic and controversial changes in the union's trading operations appear to have had an equally dramatic effect on the bottom line. ICU's financial reports for 2006-7 show that the trading operation as a whole has seen a reversal of fortunes amounting to some quarter-of-a-million pounds.
The walkway shop, newsagent and online shop* continued to lose money last year despite the expected upturn in sales due to the Centenary year. Many alumni were expected to purchase new regalia and while an increase in the value of sales was seen, costs increased by a greater amount wiping out any gains. This means that between 2005-2007 a total of £50k has been lost, mostly by the online shop*.
Bars and catering also saw a fall in sales of around £70k, however a reasonable chunk of this was projected at the start of last year and blamed on Beit being a bulding site until February. The previously profit-making sandwhich bar in dBs was also hit by the cheaper offerings in the refurbished JCR, leading to its eventual closure. This reduction in income combined with an increase in costs (partly due to the restructuring) led to an overall loss just into six figures, a huge reversal on the large profits normally made by the bars.
Hopefully the one area of the Union expected to make money will begin filling its reserves once more - there is, after all, a major redevelopment of the bars planned in a few years and lots more awnings to buy.
Overall the Union made another on-paper profit in 2006-2007 - up on the year before - thanks to reduced depreciation costs. Whether this is because all of the Union's equipment has reached the end of its expected life and needs to be replaced this year remains to be seen...
*The online shop concerns only the "official" online regalia sales and not any income via the union website itself