The Co-operative is planning to restore dividend payments to its members and resurrect its iconic blue clover logo as part of efforts to return the company to its core values.
At its AGM in Manchester on Friday, the society said that before re-introducing the so-called ‘Divi’ in 2018, it plans hand back £100m a year in other benefits to its eight million members and their communities. From this autumn, members will receive a 5% reward for any purchases they make of Co-op own brand products and services, with a further 1% given to donate to local causes. The rewards will go into the member’s account and can be used for Co-op branded food and services in the future.
The group added that after completing its investment in rebuilding the Co-op, it also plans to bring back the ‘Divi’ – the share of profits which it gives to members. This was suspended in 2014 when it posted huge losses.
At the AGM, the Co-op laid out its ambitions for the next five years which included recruiting one million new members; to have 50% of sales across its businesses coming from Co-op members (currently 25% in it food business); to return an additional £3m in benefits to Fairtrade producer communities; and to make digital work for its businesses and its members.
To mark the launch of the new member benefits, the Co-op announced the return to its iconic blue clover-leaf logo, first used in 1968, which will be rolled-out across its entire business over the next few years.
Richard Pennycook, CEO of the Co-op, commented: “This is what the Co-op is all about. Big business is often accused of taking money out of communities – we are putting it back in as we champion a better way of doing business for our members and their communities.
“Our intention is to return to paying a dividend again, but we also want to make the rewards for members who trade with the Co-op more meaningful and community focused. We’re already seeing good momentum across our businesses and this will drive further growth which our members and their communities will benefit from. It clearly demonstrates the Co-op difference being delivered every day.”
Allan Leighton, Chair of the Co-op, added: “We are on the verge of creating a new Co-op economy, one where the trade from our members clearly benefits them, their communities and our thousands of suppliers.
“Our brand identity, whether seen on a Fairtrade bottle of wine, on a funeral home fascia or on our insurance website, will signify a better way of doing business.”
- Short term, some benefits, but the real payoff will be a return to the divi, making the Co-op different to other retailers…
- ….As it taps into the latent demand of its ‘captive’ audience…