We are proud that Central England Co-operative Society is one of the largest independent retailers in the UK.
Our principal business activities are retail, funeral and travel services, though we also have interests in opticians, florists and coffin manufacturing, and we manage a significant investment property portfolio.
Retail food stores are our main core business, generating around 70% of our total turnover. We own a distribution centre in Leicester which supplies our own food stores and also provides a service to neighbouring branches of the Heart of England, Midcounties and Tamworth societies.
Although independent from The Co-operative Group and other societies we are part of the wider co-operative movement, and in the true spirit of co-operation we work with each other so that, as part of a larger unit, we have the buying power of much bigger companies through economies of scale.
The origins of Central England Co-operative date back to 1854 when 76 independent co-operative societies were formed. In late 2013, a merger between the Anglia Co-operative and Midlands Co-operative created a new Society entitled Central England Co-operative. Today our Society continues to go from strength to strength and is one of leading independent retailers in the UK.
Born from the merger of Central Midlands and Leicestershire Societies and bringing together a diverse range of businesses from food retailing, funeral directors, fashion & home and motor dealerships. Following the merger, the Society rebranded itself under the Co-op Extra Superstores signage.
Following a merger of East Midlands Co-operative Society and Greater Midlands Co-operative Society in 1985, Central Midlands Co-operative Society was formed. This merger brought together a myriad of different businesses from Derbyshire, Birmingham and Staffordshire.
At the end of a decade that brought us the Cuban Missile Crisis and the first man on the moon, we also saw the momentous merger of several smaller societies including Coalville, Kettering, Leicester, South Leicestershire, Shepshed, Rothwell, Hathern, Market Harborough and Melton Mowbray. This merger created the Leicestershire Co-operative Society.
The mid Nineteenth century is when we can trace back the origins of Central England Co-operative. The Derby Co-operative Provident Society was formed in 1854 by 12 members of the Carpenters' and Joiners' Society. Their members raised £2 to purchase groceries and second-hand scales to open their first store in a hayloft near Sadler Gate, Derby.
The co-operative enthusiasts, as they were known over 150 years ago, were a group of Lancastrians who set up the Rochdale Pioneers Society. This co-operative movement was one of the first to pay a patronage dividend and designed the Rochdale Principles, a set of ideals for the operation of co-operatives that is still operated globally to this day.