Dividend card holders are set to benefit from a bonus of £1.9m after a successful trading year for Lincolnshire Co-op.
The proposed dividend bonus, one of the ways Lincolnshire Co-op shares its profits locally, is being put to the vote at Society’s members’ meetings in early November. If approved, it will be paid onto members’ dividend cards on Saturday 30th November, on top of the £2.2m of dividend they’ve already collected this year – a total of £4.1m.
It comes after a positive financial year for Lincolnshire Co-op. Total sales in the 53-week year to 7th September 2019 were up 5.6% to £347m. Trading surplus of £15.5m was down by £2.2m on the previous exceptional year but was above budget.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s food stores saw customer numbers grow and sales rose by 8.4% to £208m – a record performance. Time-poor consumers, keen to save cash and reduce food waste, are increasingly turning their back on the so-called big shop, instead looking to pick up what they need, when they need it.
A ‘reduced to sell’ policy in food stores - which sees goods past their ‘best before’ date kept on sale at a significantly lower price – led to a 37% reduction in food waste.
Sales of Love Local products, sourced from business in Lincolnshire Co-op’s trading area, went up by 16% - worth £3.8m to the local economy.
Investment in training and consultation rooms means the Society’s pharmacies offer more than just prescriptions and increased numbers of patients are taking advantage of community health services.
The teams carried out 13,623 Medicines Use Reviews, an increase of 13%, administered 63% more flu vaccines – a total of 7,982 – and engaged with 4,237 patients through the New Medicine Service. Over 5.7m prescriptions were dispensed, an increase of 1.46% in a static market.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s travel branches are independent, with no ties to any tour operator, and provide the financial security of ABTA and ATOL bonding. Sales of ‘big ticket’ holidays, like cruises or long-haul breaks, remained steady and more people holidayed in the UK this year.
The funeral services team provide clients with an ever-growing range of choice, from environmentally friendly coffins to simple funerals. People seeking financial peace of mind invested in funeral plans, with 1,339 sold this year.
Lincolnshire Co-op uses local firms where possible on property schemes and to build and maintain trading outlets and spent £16m with businesses from the area this year.
Investment included a major renovation of Whaplode Food Store and Filling Station, a new funeral home in Scunthorpe, new food stores in Scawby and Lincoln’s Sincil Street, plus a new combined food store and pharmacy on Newark Road in North Hykeham.
Major property schemes led by Lincolnshire Co-op also moved forward in the year, with new tenants opening in Lincoln’s Cornhill Quarter and work beginning on the second phase of the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park.
Colleagues working at Lincolnshire Co-op were rewarded with a profit share bonus totalling the equivalent of an extra week’s wage.
The Society’s Community Champions scheme raised £582,591 for 237 local groups including air ambulances, environmental charities and organisations tackling financial exclusion.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s Chief Executive Ursula Lidbetter said: “This year, we’ve achieved strong sales and successfully navigated a difficult trading climate. Our quality offer and business strength mean we can continue to progress during tough times, while still building for the long-term and preparing for future challenges.
“Our positive performance means we can play our part to make life better in our communities, whether it’s our members who share in dividend, the charities we support, the local producers whose goods we sell or the local firms we employ to build and maintain our services.”
Watch a summary of the year below - you can also take a look at the Our Year report and our Director's Report and Financial Statements here.