Midcounties Co-operative

Midcounties Co-operative
The Midcounties Co-operative Limited
Type Consumer Co-operative
Industry Retail (Wholesale)
Founded 2005 (1853)
Headquarters Warwick Technology park, 2 Gallows Hill
Key people Vivian Woodell, President
Ben Reid, Chief Executive
Products Grocer, Newsagent, Dispensing chemist, Funeral director, Travel agent, Motor car dealership, Childcare, Sub post office
Revenue £421 million
Employees 8,500
Website www.midcounties.coop

The Midcounties Co-operative Limited is the fourth-largest consumer co-operative in the United Kingdom. It is a registered Industrial and Provident Society,[1] a member of Co-operatives UK, the Co-operative Retail Trading Group and a corporate member of Co-operative Group Ltd. (formerly Co-operative Wholesale Society), the largest consumer co-operative in the world. The head office is located at Warwick Technology Park, Warwickshire.

The Society's principal activity is retailing in the mid counties of England. A subsidiary, The Midcounties Co-operative Domains Ltd, operates the internet domain name registry for the .coop top level domain. In 2002, the Society became the first in the UK co-operative to open a children's day care facility. It has also invested in Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative in Watchfield, Oxfordshire, identified by its promoters as the UK's largest community-owned wind farm at its opening in 2008.[2]

The founding (non-executive) president is Vivian Woodell, (chief executive of The Phone Co-op), who was president of the OSG Society at the time of merger.



The Midcounties Co-operative was formed on 24 September 2005 by the merger of the Oxford, Swindon and Gloucester Co-operative Society (OSG) and the West Midlands Co-operative Society (WMCS). Consequently, the Society's geographical trading area spans eight counties, including most of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, the area around Swindon in Wiltshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands county.

Some of the earliest predecessor societies that combined with others to eventually form The Midcounties Co-operative are:

The Society is governed by general meetings of its members.
Community Formed
Swindon 1853
Gloucester 1860
Chipping Norton 1866
Walsall 1866
Oxford 1872
Cinderford 1874


The Midcounties Co-operative is one of several independent co-operatives that mainly uses The Co-operative brand across its businesses. These are:

Food retailing

Midcounties Co-operative “Swift Shop” in Walton Street, Oxford.

The Midcounties Co-operative is one of the largest independent food retailers in the country with around 150 stores. It operates supermarkets, village stores and Swift Shops which are all to be converted to The Co-operative Food brand. The Society also owns the Stars News and Rusts brands.

Dispensing chemists

The Midcounties Co-operative owns 44 pharmacies and one specialist beauty and gift shop. It runs 11 branches in its southern trading area (covering Oxfordshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire)—one in Swindon, five in Oxfordshire and five in Gloucestershire, with the remainder located in the West Midlands region. Each year more than two million prescription items are dispensed. In common with many other pharmacies, the group offers a wide range of extended services to customers, such as support to quit smoking, medicines use reviews, a weight management service and asthma reviews. These now trade as The Co-operative Pharmacy.

Funeral directors

The Midcounties Co-operative owns 70 funeral homes and three monumental masons. These now do business as The Co-operative Funeralcare in the Society's trading area.

Co-operative Employee Benefits

Co-operative Employee Benefits turned over £32m in 2010/11, providing Childcare Voucher and Cycle to Work schemes. They currently service 800 clients, with 14,000 employees in receipt of their benefits.

Co-operative Employee Benefits are launching Childcare Discounts, Family Care Advice Services, Legal Services, Simplyhealth, Energy and Payroll Giving in 2011.

Travel agents

The Midcounties Co-operative operates 41 travel agents throughout the West Midlands, Worcester, Oxford, Swindon and Gloucester areas. Whilst most of these all trade as The Co-operative Travel, the society has opened three multi-channel concept stores in Thame, Evesham and Worcester. The remainder of the stores carry The Co-operative Travel branding these three stores all carry the society's online brand 'cooptravel.co.uk'.[3]


Midcounties Co-operative Society operate an online travel business 'cooptravel.co.uk'. Since The Co-operative Group's re-branding programme in 2008[4] the group's online business had been trading as The Co-operative Travel. Midcounties saw value in the Co-op Travel brand and moved their main travel website onto the current domain, finally securing the relevant 'Co-op Travel' trademarks in June 2009[5].


The Midcounties Co-operative also operate Imagine Co-operative Childcare in Oxfordshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire.


The property group provides a comprehensive management service for the Society's operational and investment portfolio, which encompasses 450 separate units of accommodation including over 100 residential dwellings.

Former Businesses

Car dealerships

Motorworld (also known as The Co-operative Motors) was a co-operative car dealership. Its franchises include Volvo, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Hyundai. The Midcounties Co-operative intended it to be the most socially responsible car dealership in the UK, but sold it off in January 2010 at a loss of £2.4 million[6][7].


Membership is open to all residents of the Society's trading area, with members receiving a share of the profits in the form of dividend. When members join they are required to invest a minimum of £1 which entitles them to a share in the business. The scheme is run in conjunction with The Co-operative Group membership, allowing a Midcounties card to be used at businesses operated by other participating societies.

The membership card allows members to collect points either by spending in stores or attending events. Points are converted to vouchers twice yearly, usually in May and November. The vouchers can be spent in any of The Midcounties Co-operative's trading outlets, paid into the member's share account or donated to charity.

See also


  1. ^ Registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985, No. 19025R
  2. ^ Westmill Wind Farm Celebrates Success of Public Share Launch Energy4All Press Release, 5 December 2005
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ AM Online
  7. ^ Annual Report and Accounts

External links

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