Solid trading year for Lincolnshire Co-op
Trading performance at community retailer Lincolnshire Co-op has been stable this year, with growth of 4.1% in challenging conditions.
The society saw turnover (sales excluding VAT) increase from £340m to £354m in the financial year to 2nd September 2023 with strong performances from its pharmacy business, which saw growth of 10.8%, funerals which rose by 6% and food, which saw a 3% increase.
New food stores have opened during the year in Lincoln, Barrowby, Warsop and Bilsthorpe and the society also took over a new pharmacy in Winterton.
Significant increases in costs have impacted on the society’s trading surplus. Energy costs have risen 67% to £6.4m and distribution has gone up by £1m this trading year. All society colleagues have received a pay rise of at least 6%.
The trading surplus, though down by 27%, remains healthy at £12.1m and it means that the society is still able to share a dividend bonus with its members this year.
On Saturday 2nd December, each member will receive 70p per £1 of dividend they have collected during the year. It means the society will be sharing £1.5m in dividend bonus on top of the £2.1m members have already collected.
Over 22,200 new members joined Lincolnshire Co-op this year, bringing the total number of dividend card holders to 292,108 people. 2023 marked the 25th birthday of the Lincolnshire Co-op dividend card and 31,311 members who have held their card for 25 years were rewarded with £5 of dividend.
The society’s community work continued with 80 Wellbeing Walks running across the area, supported by 254 volunteer walk leaders. Lincolnshire Co-op’s community team also helped set up 13 Community Cuppa events, designed to bring people together and help tackle social isolation.
Members shopping with their dividend cards, colleague fundraising and collection box donations contributed to a total of £619,198 being raised for 415 local charities and community groups through the society’s Community Champions scheme.
Health outreach services included flu clinics, administering 2,476 vaccines in community venues across the area, and a mobile health pod which toured events, giving 475 free health MOTs.
The society’s property portfolio saw also developments during the year, including the expansion of Mosaic – a hub for digital businesses in Lincoln – and the opening of a new building within the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park. Lincolnshire Co-op has also partnered with Wykeland Group to acquire Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln.
The society’s Chief Executive Alison Hands said: “Like many other businesses, we are experiencing significant economic pressures including high energy and distribution costs.
“Because we have strong foundations as a business and have had a solid trading year, despite these pressures, we have maintained a surplus which we can share with members and colleagues, and which enables us to work in our communities.
“We are focusing on how we can continue to grow our business for the long term and mitigate continually challenged cost bases, so we can improve our surplus to enable even further investment into our purpose and make life better in our communities.”