Members of the 123-year-old Penrith Co-operative have backed a merger with Scotmid Society.
Eighty-eight members took part in the confirmation meeting on 28 August at Methodist Church in the town, which voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal to merge the societies. They had previously discussed the merger at an initial meeting on 13 August, which also received a majority backing.
The initial special meeting saw 149 members attend, which had presentations from both societies. The vote saw 144 votes in support of the resolution versus two against and 3 abstentions. The societies continue to work on the transfer
While thanking members for their support over the years, Ralph Beaumont, President of Penrith, said the merger would benefit both societies, enabling them to grow stronger together.
The merger brings together the two largest independent co-operative societies in Scotland and Cumbria. In 2012 Scotmid had a turnover of £428m, with an operating profit of £6m.
Penrith Co-operative has also served its local community since 1890. For the year ended January 7th its revenue reached £13m. The society has nine outlets and post offices across Cumbria and County Durham that count on 179 staff members.
John Brodie, Chief Executive of Scotmid Co-operative also said the move will help to create an enlarged society that with a wider reach. “This is a momentous decision for both societies and one not taken lightly by the Boards of Penrith or Scotmid, nor by the members, and together we can look forward, taking the best of both societies to serve the communities and extend co-operation to a wider geographic area,” he said.
Scotmid is Scotland’s largest independent co-operative society and has been at the heart of local communities since 1859. The Society employs nearly 5,000 staff in 350 retail and service outlets across, many of which are already outside Scotland, with branches in Northern Ireland and the North of England.