Co-operatives eclipse UK economy

Figures reveal that the co-operative sector outperformed the wider UK economy last year.

The UK Co-operative Economy Report 2011, published by Co-operatives UK, shows that the combined turnover of all UK co-operatives grew by 4.4 per cent last year to £33bn, and has grown by 21 per cent since the start of the credit crunch in 2008.

Annual analysis into the size and performance of the UK’s co-operative businesses, reveals that membership has increased with growth of 18 per cent since 2008, to 12.8 million. Although this is a slight drop from a high point in 2009, it means that one in five of the entire UK population is now a member of a co-operative.

The biggest percentage growth in turnover was seen among organisations owned by their employees such as John Lewis and Suma Wholefoods, with 8.7 per cent growth to £9.4bn.  The largest sector remains consumer-owned co-operatives which amounts to £16.1bn with growth of 6.5 per cent. This includes the Co-operative Group, whose £14bn revenue includes food, financial services, pharmacy and funeral services.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “The evidence we have is of remarkably stable growth across a wide array of co-operative businesses. The values of shared ownership, shared wealth and democratic control appear to provide resilience in the face of economic adversities. Our co-operative economy is in good health – still further proof, to both the public and private sectors, of exactly how economic success can be pursued alongside social responsibility.”

The top ten UK co-operatives by turnover are:

1. The Co-operative Group (£12,544,600,000)

2. John Lewis (7,421,500,000)

3. Midlands Co-operative (£962,175,000)

4. Midcounties Co-operatives (£787,271,000)

5. Openfield Group (£556,682,000)

6. Milk Link (£549,684,000)

7. First Milk (£535,767,000)

8. East of England Co-operative (£534,656,000)

9. National Merchant Buying Society (£466,315,375)

10. Scottish Midland Co-operative (£367,729,000)

In this article

Join the Conversation