A positive trading year for Lincolnshire Co-op, which saw sales rise across the business and profits go up by 11 per cent, could see the Society’s local members benefit from an increased dividend pay-out.
Lincolnshire Co-op is owned by its 244,000 members who receive a share of the profits in dividend. They also get a dividend bonus at the end of each year, relative to how the Society has performed.
In the 2014/15 financial year, Lincolnshire Co-op saw total sales rise by £6.6m to £293m and profits, before payments to members, go up by £2.2m to £20.9m.
Members who go to the Society’s annual meetings in November (see Notes to Editors for details) 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 £1.56m on top of the £1.83m paid out during the year – a total of £3.39m. It’s an average return of 3.1 per cent to each member on the value of their shopping.
During the year, the Society’s net assets grew and now stand at £282m. 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 per cent across the Society’s 83 food stores, with its own bakers Gadsby’s based in Southwell, recording an increase of 7.4 per cent. The Love Local range, which features local meat and goods from small producers, saw sales rise by 11 per cent.
Pharmacy teams in the Co-op’s 48 outlets dispensed 5.2 million prescriptions and income went up by 4.4 per cent. Sales in the Society’s 13 travel branches grew by over 9 per cent.
Ever more people trusted Lincolnshire Co-op’s funeral services with their arrangements this year. Income from the Society’s 18 funeral homes, the florist and crematorium rose by 13.1 per cent.
£17m 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.
814 Co-op staff volunteered during the year, giving a total of 7,596 hours to the community.
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.”