This morning we’re publishing our annual results for 2018 and setting out the progress we’ve made in the first year of our Stronger Co-op and Stronger Communities ambition.
The report shows that we’re growing, staying competitive, innovating, and proving that we are a responsible business. Most importantly, we’re creating value for our millions of members through strengthening the business they own and the communities in which they live.
You can find our full results infographic here.
I’m proud that we’ve given £79m back to members and the causes that matter to you during 2018. £60m went directly back to individual members through our 5% reward, and £19m to more than 4,000 community projects across the UK through the 1% Local Community Fund and sales of carrier bags. That’s an average £4,500 per project, enough to make a real difference.
And we were able to do all that while increasing pre-tax profits 27% to £93m, and maintaining underlying profit before tax at £43m. In particular, we saw an outstanding year for our food stores in what remains an incredibly competitive market. Our Funeral and Life Planning business had a more challenging 12 months with a drop in profits. We’re taking action to address this in 2019 while continuing to respond to funeral affordability and choice.
2018 was a year which saw us taking significant business decisions which will set us up for long-term success:
- our acquisition of the Nisa wholesale business means our Co-op brand is already reaching hundreds of thousands of new homes
- our deal with Markerstudy to sell our insurance underwriting business will reduce our financial risks and allow us to focus on developing innovative new insurance policies
- our acquisition of Simplify Probate which makes us the number 1 provider of Probate in the UK
- and the acquisition of the Dimec digital platform means we’re ready to re-enter the healthcare market later this year.
We’re also publishing our Co-op way report today which sets out our progress on our ethical commitments.
This is an important moment to prove that a co-operative approach to business can be not only commercially successful but socially significant too. I firmly believe that co-operative ways of thinking and acting have never been more relevant nor more urgent when you look at the turbulent and challenging times we are living through.
So in the year in which we’ll be celebrating the 175th anniversary of the birth of the co-operative movement, we’re going to be telling our story with greater clarity and passion than ever before so more people understand how our Co-op brings people together and keeps them together.
To find out more about the results and the stories of progress that we’ll be sharing today, please read my blog to our members.
Finally, I’d like to thank all of you for your continued hard work and dedication to a better way of doing business. None of this would be possible without you and I hope these results make you very proud of our Co-op. I look forward to sharing more about our plans at our Annual General Meeting on Saturday 18th May.
You can access our results news release here.