Members of East of England Co-operative will share a £3.5m dividend payment this month.
The profit-share for more than 170,000 members was approved at last month’s annual meeting.
President John Pendle chaired the meeting and reported on the society’s performance during the past year. Members heard how the society achieved a 17% rise in pre-tax profit, with a £342m turnover. This is the first such rise in six years and comes despite a tough consumer environment.
Doug Field, executive officer for finance and technology, said: “We believe that being local and independent is a key strength and we are delighted to once again be able to give something back to our loyal members in the form of a dividend.
“A strong balance sheet, no borrowing, consumer confidence, a focus on customer service, and continued promotion of our independence are all factors that put us in a strong position to continue to build our society.”
The meeting also included an election for board directors, with 12 candidates standing for four places. Belinda Bulsing was elected as a new director with Graham Bober, Clive Mann and Beverley Perkins all re-elected.
Following the meeting, members joined visitors in the head office grounds of Wherstead Park to enjoy a family fun event with live music from the Harwich Brass Band, a petting farm and activities for children. There was also an array of food and drink from suppliers in the co-operative’s Sourced Locally programme.