Profits and sales rise at Lincolnshire Co-op despite tough challenges

Ursula Lidbetter, chief executive of Lincolnshire Co-op
Ursula Lidbetter, chief executive of Lincolnshire Co-op

Lincolnshire Co-op has seen profits go up by 11 per cent over the last year as its sales have soared.

Its success means the society’s 244,000 member/owners are set to receive an increased dividend pay-out.

Trading conditions are tough out there. To record such a good result despite that is exceptional.

Ursula Lidbetter, chief executive

According to figures just released by Lincolnshire Co-op, total sales rose by £6.6 million to £293 million and profits went up by £2.2 million to £20.9 million for the 2014/15 financial year.

Chief executive of Lincolnshire Co-op, Ursula Lidbetter, said: “Trading conditions are tough out there.

“To record such a good result despite that is exceptional.”

Members who go to the society’s annual meetings later this month 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.

The society’s annual results also show that during the year, the society’s net assets grew to £282 million.

It also paid out two profit share bonuses to its 2,800 staff, totalling an extra week and a half’s wages.

Across the society’s 83 food stores sales were up by 4.3 per cent 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 its 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 more than nine per cent.

Income from the society’s 18 funeral homes, the florist and crematorium rose by 13.1 per cent.

Some £17 million was reinvested 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.

There was also success for Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme which links Dividend Card holders to good causes near them.

It means every time members shop, a donation goes to that group. This year 694 organisations shared in £184,000 raised by the scheme and 814 Co-op staff volunteered during the year, giving a total of 7,596 hours to the community.

Ms 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.

She added: “I’d like to thank all of our hard working staff and our members and customers, who continue to support their local co-op.”