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East of England Co-op encourages members to give dividend to charity after good financial results

PUBLISHED: 17:29 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:29 21 May 2020

East of England Co-op, has reported strong results in the financial year 2019-20.  Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP

East of England Co-op, has reported strong results in the financial year 2019-20. Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP

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East of England Co-op is encouraging members to donate their dividend to charity after reporting good financial results.

The company, which runs food stores in Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire as well as owning numerous other businesses, reported strong results despite the increase of the national living wage.

Even with these increased staffing costs, the co-operative reported trading profits of £4.5m, and will pay a dividend to members of £2.1m.

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The co-operative is writing to its members to encourage them to donate their share of the dividend to the East of England Co-op Community Care Fund – which the retailer kickstarted with a donation of £230,000.

Doug Field, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “We were pleased to have generated trading profits of £4.5m in a challenging market.

“Over the past five years, we have invested over £76m in our business, introducing new technologies and refurbishing our stores and branches.

“As the principle part our business, we were pleased to see a £5m increase in Food sales, with over £1m of locally sourced produce sold in just one fortnight.”

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Speaking about the businesses future with no end to the coronavirus in sight, Mr Field said: “It is impossible to predict the full financial impact of Covid-19.

“In the first few weeks of the pandemic, we saw a double-digit uplift in sales, with panic buying clearing the supply chain of certain items.

“This is now stabilising, and we are beginning to see more normal sales volumes return.

“Moving forward, we will continue to prioritise colleague, member and customer safety. We will continue to focus on improving the daily lives of members, customers, colleagues and communities.

“We will continue to invest in new technologies and in the refurbishments of our stores for the benefit of our members and customers.

“We are confident for the future, despite the current pandemic. We have a robust balance sheet and the resources we need to see us through the foreseeable future.”

The businesses Annual Members’ Meeting and director elections have been postponed until it is safe to hold them in person.

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