MEMBERS of Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed merger with West Midlands Society.
Providing the move is endorsed by West Midlands members on August 9th, the new society – as yet unnamed – will become effective from September 24th.
Ninety-nine per cent of West Midlands members have already backed the proposal, so the confirmatory vote appears little more than a formality.
The new society – Britain's fourth biggest co-op – will run 350 retail stores and a range of other businesses including motor sales, childcare nurseries, care homes, funeral homes, Travelcare and others. It will employ 7,000 people and have a total of 180,000 members.
A spokesman said the society will continue to support local communities with funding for community groups, community events and support for co-operative development.
Altogether, 466 OSG members attended meetings in Chipping Norton, Swindon, Gloucester and Oxford, with 97 per cent of those present voting in favour of the rule changes needed for the merger.
OSG Chief Executive Bob Burlton, who will lead the new society until next year, said: "The meetings attracted an unusually high turn-out of members from across our trading area. The vote is great news for both societies."
Doreen Shaw, President of West Midlands Co-op, said she was delighted with the outcome of the recent WM Co-op and OSG meetings.
"The merger of two of the UK's most successful co-ops will create a new society that will build on the strengths of each partner and provide the platform for further growth and success," she said.