Announcing its annual results for 2015/2016, Lincolnshire Co-operative revealed an £8.6m boost in sales, which reached a record total of £301m in the year ended 3 September 2016. The figure represents a landmark for the 155-year-old society.
The retailer recorded a trading surplus, going up by 4% to £20m. Its sales increased from £292m in 2014/2015 to £301m in 2015/2016. Gross profit grew by 4.35% in the same period, from £90m to £93m.
Lincolnshire Co-operative runs food stores, filling stations, post offices, pharmacies and funeral services. Its food stores saw sales rise by 6.9% over the last 12 months, with a 9% increase in its Love Local range, featuring goods from local producers. Lincolnshire Co-operative pharmacies witnessed a 3.4% rise in income, dispensing 5.5 million prescriptions. Sales also grew across the travel branches (4.6%) and funeral business (5.7%).
The report highlights that throughout the year, the society has invested £18.8m in various developments, including eight new outlets. Another 35 outlets were refurbished.
Through a Community Champions scheme, cardholders are linked to good causes near them. The donations were added to proceedings from staff fundraising and the carrier bag levy, totalling £320,804 that helped fund 579 organisations.
The society will host its annual meeting in November, where members will be asked to approve a dividend bonus of 85p per £1 of dividend collected during the year. The board of directors is recommending to members that £3.5m is allocated to dividend from which £1.925m has already been paid during the year.
Lincolnshire Co-operative employs over 2,900 colleagues who benefit from a profit share scheme, which this year enabled them to receive an extra week and a half’s wages. Colleagues and members have also spent 10,043 hours volunteering in the local community.
Nearly 25,000 people signed up as new members of Lincolnshire Co-operative in 2015/2016, and this year also saw the society launch a new member engagement programme, which includes members’ forums, food tasting events and volunteering opportunities.
The co-op was also involved in financing two major development projects, the Cornhill Quarter and Lincoln Science and Innovation Park.
Commenting on the results, chief executive of Lincolnshire Co-operative Ursula Lidbetter said: “We’re a local business and we’ve had a fantastic year thanks to the support of our 260,000 members who live, work and shop in this area.
“We’re successful and able to reach milestones such as £300m of sales or recruiting almost 25,000 new members because customers know we offer something different as a co-operative.
“People choose Lincolnshire Co-op because of our great people and range of services, but also because they know every penny spent with us makes a difference.
“Their support means we can tackle projects, both big and small, that have a positive impact on the community – from major investments like the Cornhill Quarter and Science and Innovation Park, to clearing up a beach during a volunteering day or giving free health checks through our roaming health pod.”