Central England Co-operative has seen a “robust and encouraging” financial performance during the past 12 months.
According to its year end results to January 28, the organisation, one of the largest independent retail cooperative societies in the UK, invested a record amount of £45.6 million during the year, which included the opening of a new retail store in Dersingham in October and a funeral home in Gaywood in February 2016.
In total, the Society saw 13 new openings, nine being retail stores and the other four were funeral homes. Its sales were £843.5 million, which were broadly in line with the previous year. It plans to continue its food store development during 2017.
Its funeral operations have maintained a steady growth during the past year with more interest in pre-paid funeral plans, and the Society’s travel shops performed well last year despite facing difficulties in a fluctuating holiday market.
Chief executive Martyn Cheatle said: “We achieved a very pleasing performance in 2016 from both a financial and non-financial perspective, underlying our efforts to be a modern, progressive member owner co-operative business.
“With a retail sector that is both very challenging and highly competitive, we delivered a resilient performance that has helped form the solid bedrock for continued stability, investment and growth.
“While we expect trading conditions to remain challenging and competitive for the foreseeable future, the Society has clear strategies in place to optimise our co-operative and ethical point of difference and focus on continuous improvement in order to deliver sustainable business growth for the benefit of our members, customers and local communities.”
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. It employs over 8,000 staff, and has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties, including Norfolk.
Members of Central England Co-operative collect points every time they spend in store to earn a share of the profits, and can access members’ activities and community initiatives, including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.
Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting https://www.members.coop