East of England Co-op members to share in £3.1m dividend payment

Minnie Moll of the East of England Co-op.

Minnie Moll of the East of England Co-op.

The East of England Co-operative’s 200,000-plus members will share dividend payments worth a total of £3.1million over the coming weeks.

Approval for the dividend was secured at the society’s annual general meeting, held at its Wherstead Park headquarters near Ipswich, in line with a recommendation from its board.

Minnie Moll, executive officer – membership, marketing and media at the East of England Co-op, said: “As a co-operative, one of the things that differentiates us from other businesses is that we’re owned by our members, not big shareholders.

“Because of this our members are at the heart of all we do. We are delighted once again to be sharing our continued profitability with our membership through this year’s dividend.”

Society president Sally Chicken, who chaired the meeting, reported on its performance over the past year which included a second consecutive increase in annual turnover, to £342.1m, and an increase in pre-tax profit to £6.9m, up from £6.7m the year before.

The AGM also heard how each of the society’s retail businesses (with the exception of its optical business, which incurred some repositioning costs) experienced year-on-year profit growth, with its new travel branches and travel money service delivering an extra £2.1m in sales while its funeral services generated an additional £400,000 in profit.

Minnie Moll added: “One of the things we’re most proud of is the 22% year-on-year sales growth of Sourced Locally, our local sourcing initiative. This is a clear indication that we are meeting consumer demand for high quality produce with local provenance.”

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The AGM saw 19 candidates standing for six available places on the society’s board. Three new directors were elected, Emma Howard, Claire Johnsen and Steve Shaw, with existing directors Phil Hartwell, Celia Moore and Tereza Scrogie securing re-election.