A PROPOSAL to change the name of Lincoln Co-op to reflect the society's expanding trading area throughout the entire county of Lincolnshire is to be put to members' meetings this month.
The change, which, if approved, will see the society re-named as Lincolnshire Co-operative Ltd during 2004 has been recommended by the directors to give due recognition to members throughout the towns and villages of the county and acknowledge the society's coverage outside the city of Lincoln.
Originally founded in 1861 as Lincoln Equitable Co-operative Industrial Society, the title was shortened to Lincoln Co-operative Society in 1927. However mergers with Spalding Society (1954), Gainsborough Co-op (1967) and Newark Society (1983) considerably expanded Lincoln's trading area – a process further enhanced in recent years by the opening of new outlets in Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe.
The society's annual report for the year ended September 6th, says Lincoln's trading area now extends from the Humber to the Wash and out to the East coast, thus underlining the desirability of the name change.
The report says group turnover fell by 1.8% compared to the previous year, which contained an additional week.
However, on a like for like basis, a small increase was recorded and the overall position would have been much healthier, but for the effect of the closure of some loss-making units – notably in the motor division where the axing of unprofitable dealerships reduced turnover by nearly £ 8 million.
The directors report good turnover growth in relation to food sales, pharmacy outlets and the funeral and home divisions, with travel operations recovering considerbaly from the effects of September 11, 2001.
"Overall," says the report "the directors consider the level of turnover achieved as satisfactory and group trading surplus moved forward to over £ 12 million – an increase of just over £ 1.5 million."
The report adds that, during the year, the society invested almost £ 24 million in the business, but cash and financial investments remained high at £ 18.8 million. The society's reserves are currently approaching £ 140 million.
"The board is particularly pleased that the society is able to fund its capital programme from profitability and existing cash resources," adds the report.