Being a Co-op member benefits you and your community.

23 September 2016

  • Successful early trial produces significant increase in sales
  • Move will fuel the Co-op economy across the UK as a better way of doing business

More than 5m Co-op customers will today start to receive their new membership cards and enjoy enhanced benefits as the Group revealed that early trials of these benefits have led to significant increases in transactions, turnover and the frequency of visits, along with a substantial jump in the sale of Co-op branded products.

Today’s launch is the latest step in the ambitious drive to create a Co-op economy across the UK and champion a better way of doing business. The compelling new membership offer is a central plank of the Co-op’s Rebuild strategy and part of the Group’s investment of over £1 billion into its businesses.

Separately today the Co-op has announced interim results

The new membership scheme places customers and communities firmly at the heart of the Co-op and will see the UK’s biggest mutual handing back more than £100m a year from 2018 to its millions of members and their communities. The scheme is backed by a commitment to stretching targets. By the end of 2018 The Co-op is aiming to:

  • Recruit one million new members
  • Increase  the percentage of sales coming from members to 50% from around 20% currently
  • Return an additional £3m in benefits to producer communities operating under the Fairtrade scheme by extending sourcing commitments
  • Make digital work for members across our businesses and seeking new digital opportunities to co-operate in communities

The new scheme will reward members and their communities for trading with the Co-op. Members will receive a 5% reward for any purchases they make of Co-op own-brand products and services, with a further 1% directly benefiting local causes. Members can choose the local cause they want to support from a list of three in each of 1,500 communities across the UK, centered on Co-op Food stores and Funeralcare homes.

The money raised will provide much needed funding for thousands of organisations, from playgroups to luncheon clubs and from hospices to animal sanctuaries, that contribute so much to local life in Co-op communities from inner cities to remote rural islands.

The early trial of the scheme, carried out with colleague members shopping in the Food business, has shown encouraging results. Over the first 10 weeks of the trial and based on year-on-year comparisons, transaction numbers, turnover and the sales of the Co-op’s own-brand product range have all seen marked increases.  The net affect has been that almost £100,000 has been generated through the 1% community element in support of local good causes. 

Richard Pennycook, Group Chief Executive, said:

“Our new membership scheme is at the core of our work to Rebuild the Co-op and is part of our ongoing investment to ensure we deliver for our members, our colleagues, our customers and their communities. Every day, in Co-ops up and down the country, members will enjoy rewards for shopping with us, while 1 per cent of what they spend on Co-op own brand products will be donated to the fantastic community causes they choose. We have designed this modern membership scheme to embody the Co-op difference and are confident it will help us deliver against our determination to champion a better way of doing business for you and your communities.

“We are delighted with the early results from our trial of the membership benefits with our colleagues. While these are based on a short period of time, it is clear that the benefits not only increases sales and the number of visits, but also effectively promotes our fantastic own brand products. Today’s launch will set us on the path to converting one million new members to the Co-op way of doing business. Big business is frequently accused of taking money out of the community. We are investing to drive growth that will ensure money is given back to our members and their communities.”

The launch of the membership scheme follows the appointment of Rufus Olins as the Co-op’s Chief Membership Officer. Rufus, who joins the Group in October, is currently Chief Executive of Newsworks, the newspaper marketing body. He will be at the centre of delivering the changes to Co-op membership which were announced at the AGM in May, designed to make Co-op membership more engaging and more rewarding and to put the Co-op back at the heart of communities.

Media Enquiries:

The Co-operative Group

Jon Church: 07545 210812
Russ Brady:  07880 784442

Tulchan Communications

Susanna Voyle/Jonathan Sibun:  020 7353 4200

Notes to Editors

About The Co-op Group:

The Co-op Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests across food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 colleagues and an annual turnover of approximately £10 billion.

£100m returned to members and their communities

2017  2018
Total Personal Benefit: 5% £62.0m  £92.8m
Total Community Benefit: 1% £12.5m £18.5m
Combined  £74.5m  £110.9m

 
Based on 4.2 million members in 2016, 4.7 million in 2017, and 5.2 million in 2018 and member spend in line with individual business plans and objectives