Members and community groups share The Co-operative's profits

24 November 2008

Members of The Co-operative Group and hundreds of community groups are set to share a £8.9m* interim share of profits, it was revealed today (24 November).

Over the next few days, members of The Co-operative Group will receive their share of the profits payment based on their trade with the Group’s businesses during the first half of the year. In the six months of the year to 30 June 2008, 2.1 million members traded with the Group and earned a share of the profits dividend, by using their membership card. 

Because half of those receiving a payment have elected to give all, or part, of their share of the profits to charity, £500,000 will also be distributed amongst community groups.

As well as sharing in the profits, members of The Co-operative Group can stand for election to the businesses area committees, influence its social responsibility practices and assert pressure for change on a range of issues including climate change and social exclusion.

Demonstrating this unique form of engagement more than 20,000 members have already completed a questionnaire this year, which is designed to help The Co operative Group determine its future community spend. The questionnaire asks which social issues should be supported, both globally and locally, and what issues the Group should campaign on from fair trade to human rights and climate change.

The results of the poll, which will be published in the New Year, will help prioritise the causes and campaigns that will be supported by The Co-operative Group.

This combination of involvement, coupled with financial reward, creates the co operative difference, which makes being a member of The Co-operative Group a totally different experience from being just a loyalty cardholder with another retailer.   

An analysis of the 1.1 million new members who have joined since the membership scheme was re-introduced in September 2006 shows that they tend to be younger and more likely to be male.

The Co-operative Group’s Director of Marketing Patrick Allen said:“Although we are not immune to the general economic downturn, it is worth remembering that as a co operative organisation it is our members who benefit from our financial achievements and no faceless city traders can speculate on our business.

“Our interim operating profits increased by 35.6 per cent and so I am delighted that our members are sharing in this success and thanks to their generosity it will make a real difference to many charities that are doing such great work in the local communities we serve.”


Editors’ notes

*This is an interim payment that equates to each point being worth 1p.  The full profit share payment for 2008 will be decided at The Co-operative Group’s Annual Meeting in May 2009. If the value of a point is declared to be worth more than 1p, a retrospective payment will be made and applied to all points earned in the first half of the year.

In most cases a member will earn one point for each pound spent, however there are some exceptions.

Business Number of points awarded
Food, Pharmacy, Funeral, Travel, Petrol, Motor, Legal and Online 1 point for every £1 spent
Funeralcare funeral planning 2,500 for a funeral plan (not applicable to any other product or service)
Co-operative Bank or smile current or credit card accounts 1 point for every £5 outstanding on loan
Co-operative Bank or smile loan 1 point for every £5 outstanding on loan
Co-operative Bank or smile savings  1 point for every £10 held on average during the year
Co-operative Bank mortgage  1 point for every £20 outstanding on mortgage
Co-operative Bank flexible loan 1 point for every £5 borrowed on average
Co-operative Insurance home / motor policy  500 points for holding a policy (250 points for 6 months)

Becoming a member of The Co-operative Group costs just £1. Members earn points on the trade they do with all the Group’s businesses and these are then converted into a share of the profits with payments being made twice a year in June and November. Because the payments are linked to the profits of the Group, the value of the points varies year on year.

Members will receive their individual payments either directly into their bank account or in vouchers that can be spent or converted into cash in the Group’s outlets.

The Co-operative Group

On 29 July 2007, The Co-operative Group and United Co-operatives merged.  The new business is the world’s largest consumer co-operative.  It now has a turnover of more than £9 billion, 3.1 million active members and around 85,000 employees.

As well as food retailing and financial services, the Group’s other major businesses include pharmacy, funerals and travel, together with property, farming, consumer legal services and motor dealerships.  In addition, the Group operates the on-line electrical and bed shops

The new organisation operates around 4,200 trading outlets throughout the UK, including food stores, pharmacies, travel branches and funeral homes, which is in the process of adopting the uniformed brand  - The Co-operative - across its entire estate.

In the summer we announced that we had exchanged contracts to acquire the Somerfield business, which operate 880 stores.  The OFT has now concluded its initial review of our proposed acquisition and has agreed that there are no national competition issues raised by the deal.