John Lewis has been named as the country’s largest co-operative in an overview of the co-operative economy.
The 2015 economy report, published by Co-operatives UK, shows the sector turned over £37bn last year, which is down by 2.8% from £38bn. This is a result of the Co-operative Group’s separation from the Co-operative Bank following the recapitalisation exercise in 2013/14 and a reduced stake of 20%.
Previously the Group held the top spot with the highest turnover, which is now claimed by the employee trust co-operative John Lewis Partnership. For the year ended 2015, John Lewis reported a turnover of £9.7bn, while the Group recorded £9.43bn. Other top co-operatives included Midcounties (£910m), Central England (£833m), First Milk (£610m); United Dairy Farmers (£443m); and Scotmid (£436m).
Since 2010, the turnover of the sector has risen by 15% from £32.1bn. The report also reveals that the number of memberships in co-operatives has increased from by 200,000 people to 14,919,093.
Sector turnover since 2010
Currently there are 6,796 co-operatives in the UK. Of those 5,527 are in England, 250 in Northern Ireland, 567 in Scotland and 452 in Wales. In terms of business resilience, eight out of ten co-operatives stay in business during the first five years, while other forms of business only see four out of ten survive. The rise of co-op membership
Over the past five years, the fastest growing sectors have been agriculture, energy and health and social care. Figures in agriculture have increased by 29% to £4.8m, while health and social care co-ops have risen from £40m to £60m.
In the energy sector, a growth of 1,400% has been reported with sector turnover increasing from £18m to £260m, which is largely due to the growth of the Midcounties-owned Co-operative Energy.
• To view the full report, visit: www.uk.coop/economy