Rise of 11% in Lincolnshire Co-op profits leaves members with extra bonuses

Lincolnshire Co-op’s 244,000 society members are in line for an increased dividend payout after the organisation noted an 11% rise in profits across its businesses.

A positive trading year in the 2014/15 period saw sales rise by £6.6 million to £293 million and profits, before payments to members, go up by £2.2 million to £20.9 million.

Members who go to the society’s annual meetings in November will be asked to approve a dividend bonus of 85p per £1 of dividend collected during the year.

If given the go-ahead, members will share £1.56 million on top of the £1.83 million paid out during the year – a total of £3.39 million. It’s an average return of 3.1% to each member on the value of their shopping.

During the year, the society’s net assets grew and now stand at £282 million. Lincolnshire Co-op also paid two profit share bonuses to its 2,800 staff, totalling an extra week and a half’s wages.

Sales were up by 4.3% across the society’s 83 food stores, with its own bakers Gadsby’s based in Southwell, recording an increase of 7.4%. The Love Local range, which features local meat and goods from small producers, saw sales rise by 11%.

Pharmacy teams in the Co-op’s 48 outlets dispensed 5.2 million prescriptions and income went up by 4.4%. Sales in the society’s 13 travel branches grew by over 9%.

In addition, income from the society’s 18 funeral homes, the florist and crematorium rose by 13.1%.

Coop-Funeral-Home-Tritton-Road-22-01-2015-SS-11

The new Lincolnshire Co-op funeral home on Tritton Road. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Some £17 million was re-invested into outlets and property – including 40 refurbishments and the new Tritton Road Funeral Home in Lincoln, new food stores in Dunholme, Newark, Washingborough Holbeach and Worksop, plus a relocated travel branch in Louth and post office in Holton le Clay.

Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme links Dividend Card holders to good causes near them. Every time members shop, a donation goes to that group. This year, 694 organisations shared in £184,000 raised by the scheme.

Some 814 Co-op staff volunteered during the year, giving a total of 7,596 hours to the community.

Ursula Lidbetter. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Business magazine

Ursula Lidbetter. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Business magazine

Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-op Ursula Lidbetter said: “We’re proud to be a co-operative and our continued success enables us to pay our members a good dividend, which is their share of the profits.

“We’re really delighted that more people are joining Lincolnshire Co-op too – this year we welcomed more than 19,700 new Dividend Card holders, bringing our total membership to over 244,000 local people.

“A positive performance also means we can reinvest in our services and in our communities. Trading conditions are tough out there. To record such a good result despite that is exceptional and I’d like to thank all of our hard working staff and our members and customers, who continue to support their local co-op.”