The Co-operative Group (The Co-op) is a large British consumer co-operative providing a diverse range of retail and wholesale services including food, legal services, insurance and funeral care. It is also one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, owned by millions of members, and the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer with more than 2,500 local, convenience and medium-sized stores.
Membership is open to everyone, providing they subscribe £1 to the capital of the society and share the co-operative values and principles. Members benefit from using the Co-op’s services, and as members they may be entitled to vote in elections and on society motions
In addition, the Co-op operates a membership reward scheme giving members 5% reward on Co-op own brand food products and 1% allocation to a local cause, which the member can choose. Since November 2017, £19m has been raised for local causes. The Co-op Group has a long tradition of supporting the larger co-operative movement, investing in causes that address systemic disadvantage.
The Co-op Group has its origins in the co-operative consumer societies started by the Rochdale Pioneers. In 1863, independent co-op societies formed The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS). They provided Co-op products to sell in hundreds of Co-op stores. Over the next century, CWS went through many changes and eventually became The Co-operative Group.
Today, the Co-op Group employs over 70,000 people and serves members through its four key businesses: Co-op Food, Co-op Funeralcare, Co-op Insurance and Co-op Legal Services. These combined services have 3,750 outlets, which contribute to The Group annual turnover of £9 billion.
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