The Co-Operative or more popularly known as the Co-op is considered to be a single national business; however, each co-operative is an individual franchise that sells branded right that has been marketed by the co-operative group. The Co-op is the world’s largest consumer co-operative group with over 4,500 trading outlets across the United Kingdom. The most important areas of business for the Co-op is foodstuff which has given it the name The Cooperative Food.
The Co-op came into being back in 1844 through the Rochdale Pioneers Society; this kicked off a period of phenomenal cooperative growth. In the year 1862, the Industrial and Provident Societies Act provided the organizations a corporate status which gave the Co-op a legal framework. The Co-op seeks to be commercially successful and to build a sustainable system of doing business that is mutually beneficial and causing successes to strengthen communities.
The Co-op is owned by more than 8 million members and has over 4,500 outlets with approximately 87,000 employees. The Co-op is the only retailer that can boast of having a food store in every single postal code in the UK. The retail division also can boast of being the third largest pharmacy chain in the country.
The Co-op has a variety of businesses under its wings like; electrical, estates, insurance, food, pharmacy, legal services and funeral care, including banking and travel.