Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Co-op aims for 20 million members by 2020 - Manchester Evening News


The Co-operative Group is aiming to have 20 million members within the next decade, chief executive Peter Marks has revealed. That would mean about a third of the UK's population would be part of the Manchester-based group's dividend scheme by 2020.
Mr Marks has stated his target as he announced a group restructure which will see its financial services and trading businesses brought together.
It is hoped that closer working between the Co-op's different divisions – ranging from food stores to pharmacies - will lead to the development of new initiatives to help grow its membership.
Mr Marks said: “These changes will help us develop our plans to grow the group and serve our members and customers even better.

“We already have almost six million members, which is double the number we had three years ago.“But, it's still 14 million less than where I want us to be in 10 years' time. “We've got a 20:20 vision for our membership strategy – 20 million members by 2020 – and are really excited by the opportunities our unique co-operative difference offers us.
“The members are the lifeblood of this business and we need to serve them even better than we have been doing.
“We need to be more focused and we need to develop products and services which encourage them to cross-trade and, by doing so, benefit from the dividend they will accrue. This is our fundamental role.”
In November, 4.8 million of the Co-op's members qualified to share a record interim 'divi' payment of £16.9m.
The scheme works by members receiving a share of the group's profits, based on how much they spend across its businesses. Last year, 3.4m members shared an £11.6m interim divi.
The group's restructure will take effect from January 1. It will see Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) chief executive Neville Richardson report to Mr Marks.
Mr Richardson and group chief financial officer Martyn Wates will become joint deputy chief executives of the wider group.
A key aim of the move is to improve cross-selling between the Co-op's different divisions, which can also be a mechanism to increase membership.
Chairman Len Wardle said: “The progress we make over the next few years in unifying our brand by creating and promoting opportunities for our members to trade across all of our businesses is of critical importance to the group's continuing growth and prosperity.
“We haven't been good enough at this in the past but we will be in the future.”
The Co-op posted profits of £260m for the first half of this year, up from £221m in 2009.
Annual turnover is more than £14bn, with the group operating more than 5,000 retail outlets serving over 20m customers a week.
  • The Co-op has signed the biggest sponsorship deal in its history to succeed Topps Tiles and become the official sponsor of ITV National Weather. The 12-month deal begins on New Year's Day.
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