Linconshire Co-op members and staff are set to reap the rewards of the company’s record breaking year in sales.
Society members could see a return of up to 85p per £1 of dividend collected during the year, following the end of year review.
The 2015-16 financial year broke £300 million of sales for the first time.
It saw the society’s sales rise by £9 million to £301 million and trading surplus go up by 4% to £20 million.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s 2,900 colleagues will also benefit from the success taking a share in the company’s profit in the form of an extra week and a half’s wages.
More than 260,000 members own Lincolnshire Co-op and receive a share of the profits in dividend.
If the society has performed well, they also get a dividend bonus each year.
A decision will be made in regards to the dividend payout by members who attend the society’s annual meeting between Tuesday 15 and Wednesday, November 23 in Gainsborough, Spalding, Horncastle, Newark, Grimsby and Lincoln.
If given the go-ahead, members will share £1.6 million in bonus on top of the £1.9 million paid out during the year – a total of £3.5 million. This is an average return of 3.1% to each member on the value of their shopping.
Food stores saw sales rise by 6.9%. Local goods continued to prove popular – with Lincolnshire Co-op’s own bakers Gadsby’s, based in Southwell, increasing sales by 7% and sales of the Love Local range, featuring local meat and goods from small producers, going up by 9%.
Lincolnshire Co-op pharmacies also saw a rise of 3.4%, dispensing 5.5 million prescriptions.
One new initiative was the launch of the Community Health Pod – a five-metre tall inflatable blue marquee which toured the area, staffed by a team offering free healthy living advice. The pod visited 17 locations, giving out more than 600 health checks and 1,000 BMI assessments.
Travel branches grew sales with an increase of 4.6% in 2015/16 and income from the society’s funeral homes, florist and crematorium rose by 5.7%.
Over the year, £18.8 million was invested in developments, including opening eight new outlets.
The Community Champions scheme links dividend card holders to good causes near them. Every time a member shops, a donation goes to the current Community Champion. These donations are now combined with staff fundraising and the proceeds from the carrier bag levy.
This year 579 organisations shared in the £320,804 raised through the Community Champions scheme. These included Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire wildlife trusts, which benefited from £81,636. Charities Rethink Mental Illness and Headway, which supports people living with brain injuries, shared £86,984.
Volunteering projects are regularly organised by Lincolnshire Co-op and this year, resulted in a total of 10,043 hours being given to the community by both staff and members of the society.
Lincolnshire Co-op chief executive Ursula Lidbetter said: “We’re a local business and we’ve had a fantastic year thanks to the support of our 260,000 members, who live, work and shop in this area.
“We’re successful and able to reach milestones such as £300 million of sales or recruiting almost 25,000 new members because customers know we offer something different as a co-operative.
“People choose Lincolnshire Co-op because of our great people and range of services, but also because they know every penny spent with us makes a difference.
“Their support means we can tackle projects, both big and small, that have a positive impact on the community – from major investments like the Cornhill Quarter and Science and Innovation Park in Lincoln, to clearing up beaches on the Lincolnshire coast during volunteering days or giving free health checks through our roaming health pod.”