The accounts for the year to 30 June show the Easter Road outfit’s third successive year in the Championship, which finally resulted in promotion back to the Premiership, proved a costly one.
Although turnover rose by £700,000 to £7.7 million, the highest since 2012-13, when the club was still in the top flight, staff costs also increased from £3.8m to £4.5 m.
Despite the financial loss, after a £200,000 profit for the previous 12 months, Petrie claims there has to be “satisfaction” after a winning year on the pitch vindicated the decision not to make drastic cutbacks following relegation in 2014.
Addressing shareholders, he said: “Sporting success on the pitch, backed by attendances at home matches, leads to satisfactory financial results.
“We have said before that your board took the decision to maintain the structure and staffing of the club as a Premiership outfit in the Championship.
“We said too that, having made that decision, it was impossible to break even in the Championship without major sporting success.
“Six trips to Hampden for major cup semi-finals and finals in three years and a Europa League tie all helped. As did the Scottish Cup win on 21 May 2016.
“Record attendances at Easter Road Stadium, allied with another Scottish Cup semi-final tie and player trading at the end of the season, resulted in a loss for the financial year of £277k – some way short of our financial target, which is to at least break even.
“The sporting and financial results for last season can be viewed with satisfaction. But this is also a time to look forward – and to look forward with confidence and anticipation. The board has done all that it can to match the efforts of supporters and deliver a competitive budget for this season. We all look to the team to excite and succeed as the club strives to achieve the ambitions which we all share.”
The figures also showed cash balances of £3.5m, an increase of £1m from the previous year, thanks to money for season-ticket renewals having been received before the end of June.
Petrie detailed that fans now own 34 per cent of the club, including 11 per cent in the hands of Hibernian Supporters Limited, and hailed the club’s ability to turn down moves for John McGinn in August, and to entice former players Steven Whittaker and Anthony Stokes back to Hibs.