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East Anglia: Dividend windfall for East of England Co-op members

16:58 19 May 2014

Casting votes at the AGM

Casting votes at the AGM


More than 170,000 members of the East of England Co-operative can look forward to a share of a £3.5million dividend payment this June.

Newly-elected East of England Co-op board member Belinda Bulsing with society president John PendleAGMNewly-elected East of England Co-op board member Belinda Bulsing with society president John PendleAGM

The dividend was approved at the society’s annual general meeting, held at Wherstead Park, Ipswich on Saturday, following a recommendation from the independent retailer’s board.

President John Pendle chaired the meeting and reported on the society’s performance during 2013-14. Members heard that the business, which has 200 trading outlets across the region, achieved a 17% rise in pre-tax profit, climbing from £2.2m to £2.8m.

The society, a member of the EADT/EDP Top100 listing of the 100 largest businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk, saw turnover rise by 2% from £335m to £342m, despite tough trading conditions.

Doug Field, executive officer – finance and technology for the East of England Co-op, said: “We believe that being local and independent is a key strength and we are delighted to once again be able to give something back to our loyal members in the form of a dividend.

Questions from the floor at the East of England Co-op AGMQuestions from the floor at the East of England Co-op AGM

“A strong balance sheet, no borrowing, consumer confidence, a focus on customer service, and continued promotion of our independence are all factors that put us in a strong position to continue to build our society.”

The retailer’s Sourced Locally range, petrol forecourts, funeral, travel and the distribution centre all saw an increase in business. The year was also good for the investment property portfolio which saw an increase in turnover and profits as well as a £6m investment in new properties.

Following the AGM, members joined visitors in the grounds of Wherstead Park to enjoy a family fun event with live music from the Harwich Brass Band, a petting farm and activities for children. There was also an array of food and drink from suppliers in the national award winning Sourced Locally programme. Now working with over 130 local suppliers from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, Sourced Locally sales grew last year by 30% generating sales over £13m – making it a key element of the East of England Co-op’s business.

The AGM also included a members’ vote for the election of board directors. This year saw 12 candidates standing for four available places on the board. Belinda Bulsing was elected as a new board member with Graham Bober, Clive Mann and Beverley Perkins all re-elected.

Members who are eligible for a dividend will receive their payment in the post by June.

The East of England Co-op’s Annual Report 2014 is available online at

Police closed Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.

A man has been taken to hospital after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a van.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service called to Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

Firefighters were called to help a young child who got their head trapped between two bollards.

The accident has closed the road

A lorry driver became trapped in his vehicle after it overturned on the A1071 at Hintlesham this afternoon.

Andrew Shemming, daughter Annabelle and their dog Puzzle

She’s called Puzzle, and it is hoped the lovable Labrador will live up to her name by solving some Suffolk mysteries.

Martlesham police investigation centre

Four men arrested following the armed robbery of a Felixstowe bookmaker’s shop will not be prosecuted, police have said.

A familiar sight this year. Roadworks at the junction of Handford Road and Portman Road in Ipswich.

Temporary traffic lights were back at the junction of Portman Road and Handford Road again today . . . for the 17th time since November last year.

Police cordon off Rose Lane after the incident

A man and a woman are due to appear in court after being accused of grievous bodily harm on a young man in Ipswich town centre.

All services through Colchester are affected

All train services travelling through Colchester are facing severe disruption after the fire alarm was activated in a signal box.

Carolyn winning the Suffolk New College make-up competition in 2002.

From Hadleigh to Hollywood, Carolyn Roper has brushed shoulders with acclaimed actors, sporting legends and pop superstars.

Ipswich Hospital on Heath Road, Ipswich.

Ipswich’s hospital had its busy day of the year yesterday for admissions.

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