East of England Co-operative Society
|Headquarters||Ipswich, Suffolk, England|
|Products||Grocer, Funeral Director, Travel Agent, Ophthalmic Optician, Dispensing Chemist|
|Revenue||c. 400 million GBP|
The East of England Co-operative Society Limited is one of the largest independent consumer co-operative in the United Kingdom. It is a registered and independent industrial and provident society, and is headquartered in Ipswich and trading in the English counties of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, the Society is the area's largest independent retailer.
The East of England Co-operative Society is an amalgamation of smaller societies from across East Anglia which have joined together over the years. Most recently, the Colchester and East Essex Co-operative Society merged with the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society in 2005.
The consumer co-operative movement has its roots in the early part of the nineteenth century and the principles of self-help and social equity that developed during the Victorian era. The first successful retail co-operative was established in 1844 by the Rochdale Pioneers. The Ipswich and Norwich Society was an amalgamation of the Ipswich Industrial Co-operative Society (founded 1868) and the Norwich Co-operative Society (founded 1858). The Colchester and East Essex Society was founded as Colchester Co-operative Society in 1861, expanding through merger with the Tiptree Self Help (1921), Clacton (1931), Coggeshall Heart in Hand (1945), Harwich, Dovercourt and Parkeston (March 1967), Maldon (Nov. 1967), Witham (June 1970) and Earls Colne (Aug. 1970) co-operative societies.
The Society operates convenience stores, pharmacies, opticians, funeral directors and travel agents (as The Co-operative Travel). It previously ran a dairy with doorstep deliveries, but this was sold to Dairy Crest in early 2008 and their department stores and a jewellery store were sold to Vergo Retail in 2009. In 2010 their car dealerships were sold to various owners. It is a corporate member of the Co-operative Group, sourcing its food through the national buying programme, the Co-operative Retail Trading Group.
Customers and employees pay £1 to join and receive a Dividend card, which effectively acts as a loyalty card, and must be presented at any transaction to receive points. These points are then allocated a monetary value, decided by a board, and based on the Society's profits that year.
Membership is open to all those living or working in the Society's trading area. Members receive a share in the profits and in 2008 more than £4 million was paid out in dividends.
- After The Co-operative Group, Midlands Co-operative Society and The Midcounties Co-operative, see p.34 The UK co-operative economy 2012 – alternatives to austerity Co-operatives UK (retrieved 16 January 2014)
- Registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985, No. 1099R
- A brief history of the Ipswich and Norwich Co-operative Society East of England Co-operative Society (retrieved 3 September 2009)
- A brief history of Colchester and East Essex Co-operative Society East of England Co-operative Society (retrieved 3 September 2009)
- "Co-operative Motor Group Citroen King’s Lynn". Retrieved 2010-06-16.
- "Co-operative Motor Group Peugeot Norwich". Retrieved 2010-06-16.
- "Co-operative Motor Group Peugeot King’s Lynn". Retrieved 2010-06-16.