Co-op’s membership jumps 700,000 in just a year

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Co-op's membership

The Co-op has hailed a surge in its membership over the past year as young people flock to sign up to the mutually-owned grocery retailer.

Membership has risen by 700,000 over the past 12 months to 13.6 million. The directors of the grocer have attributed their success to “political shocks”, as consumer confidence and spend decreases and shoppers reach out for discounts.

Last year, the Co-op reintroduced their loyalty programme in an effort to draw customers back into its 7000 UK stores.

Members receive a five per cent reward on every own brand purchase, while a further one per cent goes to charity.

READ MORE: Co-op to pump £15 million into loyalty scheme

“Underlying the political shocks the country has experienced over the last year is a call from many parts of the UK population for an economy over which they have more of a say and from which they get a fair share,” Co-op’s UK secretary-general Ed Mayo said.

“As organisations owned by 13.6 million people, the UK’s 7000 co-ops give people a say in what they do and how their profits are used.

“They offer a practical way to re-imagine an economy in which people have more control over their homes, work and local areas.”

“It’s no surprise we’re seeing a spike in interest in co-ops, whether it’s social care providers finding that a co-operative approach can give its users and workers a voice, or young designers and web developers seeing co-ops as a natural way to collaborate at work.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. There is some misunderstanding in this article, which is understandable given that the UK co-operative sector is complex.

    Co-operatives are a business model, owned by key stakeholders not shareholders. There are ~7000 such businesses in the UK which operate across all sectors and range from SMEs to multinationals and which have about 13.6m members in total.

    The co-op name is synonymous with food stores and funeral homes in the UK owing to their prominance on highstreets across the UK, operating over 4000 food stores in total. These are owned by >15 different co-operative businesses, the largest of which is the Co-op Group (which has ~2800 food stores and ~1000 funeral homes) but others include the Central England Co-operative and Scotmid. The Co-op Group has introduce the much lauded 5+1% membership scheme this has led to an increase in their membership to ~4.5m in the last 12 months.

    Much of the membership growth for the total co-op sector has also come from growth in credit union membership and new startups (particularly in the digital and creative sectors).

    Glad to see co-ops getting the positive coverage that they deserve!

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