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Talking co-operatives on the TV

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Labour/Co-operative MP Meg Munn recently appeared on the BBC 1 Politics Show to discuss current developments in the co-operative movement. Meg, the President of the 2006 Co-operative Congress, talked about the huge changes experienced over recent years as the consumer market changed.


The most recent and largest change being the merger between United Co-ops and the Co-operative Group to form the world’s biggest consumer co-operative. This move will ensure the new Society remains a strong brand, continuing to promote its ethical stance in its trading. The Co-operative’s portfolio of businesses includes food stores: travel; pharmacy; funerals and financial services.


Following the show Meg remarked:


“I have been a supporter of the co-operative ideal from an early age. The combination of our co-operative ethics and good business acumen give us the opportunity to expand our movement. The recent merger has produced a group that has close to 10billion in sales and with 4,500 retail outlets - giving a greater community presence than any other retailer.”


“The Co-operative Group’s core business focus goes from strength to strength, at the same time we can campaign on behalf of our members on a range of contemporary issues such as climate change.  The Co-operative’s green credentials include becoming the first major retailer in the UK to switch all its outlets to green electricity: setting up a wind farm on our own farm land in Cambridgeshire and covering the 400 ft landmark CIS building in the centre of Manchester with 7,000 solar panels.”


Retail figures released in September 2007 show the Co-operative Group posted interim profits, before significant items, up 30.4% to over 166million. It has also reported the eighth successive quarter of like-for-like food growth, with sales over the Christmas and New Year period up 3.4%. Other mutual retailers, such as the John Lewis Partnership, also recorded positive figures - Waitrose has published like-for-like trading figures for the five week to 5th January up 4.1%.


Recent research by Gfk NOP, shows the Co-operative is seen by shoppers as the most ethical brand in the country and that the Co-operative is one of to be the UK’s most admired retailer bands.

Associated Photograph :

Meg during the programme, joining-in from the BBC Sheffield studio.

Meg during the programme, joining-in from the BBC Sheffield studio.

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