Our Heritage

Our story began over 150 years ago, when in 1844 a group of Lancastrians set up the Rochdale Pioneers Society, a co-operative movement which was to spread across the country.

At its peak in 1960 there were around 950 retail societies in the UK. Following many mergers, however, there are now less than 40, though they each serve a large local community.

Central England Co-operative is the product of mergers and transfers of engagement of nearly 70 societies, including:

  • Anglia Regional Co-operative Society joined Midlands Co-operative Society to form Central England Co-operative (2013)
  • Shepley Industrial and Provident Society (2013)
  • Moulton Co-operative Society (2009)
  • Raunds Co-operative Society (2007)
  • Ilkeston Consumer Co-operative Society (2006)
  • Desborough Industrial Society (2006)
  • Chesterfield and District Co-operative Society (2001)
  • Central Midlands Co-operative Society and Leicestershire Co-operative Society (1995)

The history of integration of societies all over the Midlands explains our complex geographical trading area, which is concentrated in Derbyshire and Leicestershire but extends north up to South Yorkshire, west as far as Staffordshire, east across Nottinghamshire into Lincolnshire and East Anglia, and south into Warwickshire, Worcestershire and even Herefordshire.
Today, Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail societies in the UK, with gross sales in excess of £1 billion and employing 8,500+ staff.

Central England Co-operative today

We are a member of The Co-operative Group family of retail co-operatives but completely independent from the Group and other retail societies.

Our principal area of activity is retail – our shops range from large supermarkets with petrol stations to local convenience shops, Post Office branches and funeral homes.

Providing management and support for all operational activities is our Business Support Centre, located in Lichfield in Staffordshire.

Our relationship with other co-operative societies

Although independent from The Co-operative Group and societies such as Lincoln, Heart of England and Midcounties, 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.

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