One of the UK’s largest and most successful co-operative societies has announced that it will trade as ‘Central England Co-operative’, after members voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting the name.
The name signals a new era for the Society following the legal merger of Midlands Co-operative Society with Anglia Co-operative in December last year, creating a retail co-operative with projected gross sales of £1 billion which operates across 16 counties from the heart of England to its eastern shores.
Central England Co-operative was chosen as the Society’s new name following a series of focus groups and an online members’ survey which culminated in the preferred naming option being put to a member vote on Wednesday (January 15) at a Special Members’ Meeting. The meeting resulted in over 99% of members voting in favour of adopting the new name.
Central England Co-operative will become the official name of the Society from the start of its new financial year on 25 January 2014. The name will gradually be incorporated, where appropriate, across the Society, which includes over 420 trading outlets, as well as central support and distribution functions, although most retail outlets will continue to operate using ‘The Co-operative’ brand.
Martyn Cheatle, Chief Executive of Central England Co-operative, said:
“The joining of our two societies brings many business and stakeholder benefits. By pooling resources we are better placed to develop our competitive advantage, protect our existing business, move forward with investment and expansion on a greater scale and deliver on our commitment to invest in local communities. All of this signals an exciting new era for our society and I believe that such a positive and significant change in our status called for a new name.
“Our Society has a long history of mergers and name changes behind it, all of which has helped us to become the successful society we are today. I have every confidence that Central England Co-operative, the name chosen by our members, will carry us through many more successful years to come.”
The legal merger followed months of planning and collaboration between the two societies and received overwhelming support from members of both organisations. The focus of the society in 2014 will be on the gradual integration and harmonisation of the two organisations into one, whilst maintaining a strong focus on business as usual.