East of England Co-operative Society


The East of England Co-operative Society is the fourth largest consumer co-operative in the United Kingdom after The Co-operative Group, The Midcounties Co-operative and Central England Co-operative. It is a registered industrial and provident society[1] with its headquarters in Wherstead, near Ipswich and trading in the eastern counties of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The Society is the area's largest independent retailer.[2]

East of England Co-operative Society Limited
TypeConsumer co-operative
IndustryFood retail, funeral services, travel agents, security
Founded1868 (Ipswich Industrial Co-op Society); 2005 (East of England Co-op Society)
HeadquartersWherstead Park, near Ipswich, Suffolk, England
Revenue £353.5 million (18/19)
£4.953m (18/19)
Members 138,975 Active (18/19)
Number of employees
4,282 (18/19)
Websitewww.eastofengland.coop/

In the 2018/19 financial year, East of England Co-op recorded sales of £353.5m (£353.4m 2017/18) and a profit before tax of £5.2m (£6.6m 2017/18). The Society was able to pay its members a total of £2.1m in dividend and dividend bonus during the year (£2.1m 2017/18). The Society had a £27m (£41.9m 2017/18) pension deficit as at 26 January 2019. Society membership was over 280,000 in 2019, with 138,975 active trading members. [3]

History


The East of England Co-operative Society is an amalgamation of smaller societies from across East Anglia which have joined together over the years. Most recently, the Colchester and East Essex Co-operative Society merged with the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society in 2005.

The consumer co-operative movement has its roots in the early part of the nineteenth century and the principles of self-help and social equity that developed during the Victorian era. The first successful retail co-operative was established in 1844 by the Rochdale Pioneers. The Ipswich and Norwich Society was the product of an amalgamation, in 1993, of the Ipswich Co-operative Society (known as the Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society from 1868 to 1968 and incorporating, since 1991, the engagements of the former Stowmarket Society, established 1889) and the Norwich Co-operative Society (formed in 1858).[4] The Colchester and East Essex Society was founded as Colchester Co-operative Society in 1861, expanding through merger with the following co-operative societies:[5]

SocietyEstablishedTransferred
Tiptree Self Help18951921
Clacton1931
Coggeshall Heart-in-Hand1945
Harwich, Dovercourt and ParkestonMarch 1967
MaldonNov. 1967
WithamJune 1970
Earls ColneAug. 1970

Activities


East of England Co-op food store in Coggeshall, Essex
East of England Co-op Funeral Services office in West Mersea, Essex

The Society’s principal business activities are food retailing, funeral services and management of its investment property portfolio. The Society also has interests in petrol forecourts, travel, events and conferencing, security, and stonemasonry.[citation needed]

It previously ran a dairy with doorstep deliveries, but this was sold to Dairy Crest in early 2008 and their department stores and a jewellery store were sold to Vergo Retail in 2009. In 2010 their car dealerships were also sold to various owners.[6][7][8] In early 2019 the Society sold its pharmacy and optical businesses.

The Society is a corporate member of the Co-operative Group, sourcing its food through the national buying programme, the Co-operative Federal Trading Services.

The East of England Co-operative Party organise in Colchester, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Membership


Customers and employees who join the Society as members receive a dividend card, which effectively acts as a loyalty card and must be presented at any transaction to receive points. These points are then allocated a monetary value, decided by the board and based on the Society's profits that year.

Since 2015 it has been free to join the East of England Co-op Society, with the £1 fee previously charged being deducted from the member's first dividend payout.

Membership is open to all those living or working in the Society's trading area. Members receive a share in the profits and in 2018 more than £2.1 million was issued as dividends.

See also


References


  1. Registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985, No. 1099R
  2. https://www.eadt.co.uk/business/grant-ghornton-and-birketts-survey-on-100-largest-businesses-1-5798032
  3. https://www.eastofengland.coop/about-us/our-co-op-today/annual-report-and-accounts
  4. A brief history of the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society Archived 27 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine East of England Co-operative Society (retrieved 3 September 2009)
  5. A brief history of Colchester and East Essex Co-operative Society Archived 1 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine East of England Co-operative Society (retrieved 3 September 2009)
  6. "Co-operative Motor Group Citroen King's Lynn". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  7. "Co-operative Motor Group Peugeot Norwich". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  8. "Co-operative Motor Group Peugeot King's Lynn". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2010.