Lincolnshire Co-op announces trading surplus of £16.6m in its annual results

‘After two years where the pandemic dominated, we have seen a return to a more typical trading year’

In its annual results for the year to 3 September, Lincolnshire Co-op has announced a 12% increase in overall sales to £399m, with trading surplus falling 9.1% to £16.6m. 

The society said it was a “healthy” set of results despite the impact of rising costs including energy and food distribution which “will continue to present challenges over the next trading period”.

The society has shared a dividend bonus of £1.6m to members, who had already received £1.9m during the financial year.

The report adds that travel sales have revived, showing growth on pre-pandemic trading years. It notes that almost a quarter of clients have booked with the society for the first time with many wanting the support of using a travel agent after the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Food sales steadied, and the society’s Love Local range, which supports producers across the trading area, recorded sales of £4.8m.

Pharmacies dispensed 5.9 million prescription items, a rise of 3%. Community health services saw colleagues guide 16,302 patient through the use of their medication as part of the New Medicines Service (NMS). Over 25,000 jabs were administered at the society’s Covid vaccination sites in Lincoln and Boston and 13,040 flu vaccines were delivered in branch and at community-based clinics.

Funeral branches helped families with 2,772 funeral arrangements in the year. 

Post offices “continued to provide valued services for communities, with banking services proving particularly useful in rural areas”.

New food stores opened in Retford and Barnetby during 2022 and construction is taking place at a further five food store sites, due to open in 2023. 

A total of 496 groups and charities shared £680,776 raised this year through the Community Champions scheme.

Collection points for local food banks and community larders are in all food stores and two targeted campaigns in the year encouraged people to give specific goods needed at that time, as well as contributing by donating dividend.

Colleagues have two paid days of volunteering annually and gave 1,319 hours to the community through projects as diverse as planting trees, revamping local war memorials and supporting local school children with careers advice.

The society has registered with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to follow its progress on targets to reduce emissions, including from gas, electricity, vehicle use and refrigeration, as well as within the supply chain.

CEO Ursula Lidbetter said: “After two years where the pandemic dominated, we have seen a return to a more typical trading year. The travel industry was hit hard by the pandemic and recovery this year has been gratifying to see.

“Rising costs, the tough economic climate and social issues will continue to test us for the foreseeable future.”