Co-operative - Frequently Asked Questions
About the Co-op and Central England Co-operative
Q1. Is Central England Co-operative Society the same as The Co-operative which advertises on TV?
A1. Yes and no.
Central England Co-operative is one of a number of retail co-operative societies trading under the "Co-operative" banner, but we are entirely independent from them. We subscribe to co-operative values and principles of co-operatives, and we have the benefit of the group branding and great bargaining power, but we are a regional business working in the best interests of our local customers and community.
For more information about the history & constitution of Central England Co-operative, see About us.
Q2. Where is Central England Co-operative based?
A2. Our geographical trading area is concentrated in Derbyshire and Leicestershire but extends north up to South Yorkshire, west as far as Staffordshire, and south into Warwickshire, Worcestershire and even Herefordshire. Since the merger of Midlands with Anglia Co-operative, the eastern part of our trading area extends to Lincolnshire and Norfolk, right to the eastern shores of England. Our headquarters and business support centre is in Lichfield.
Q3. What makes Central England Co-operative different from other supermarkets and shops?
A3. The main difference is that we are not accountable to shareholders but to our members. Members own the business and twice a year receive a dividend based on profits. Through our Community Dividend, we return a percentage of our trading profit back to charities and good causes in our local area.
Q4. Where is my nearest Central England Co-operative store?
A4. Use the store finder to locate and get directions to your nearest supermarket or food store, petrol station, funeral home, travel shop, optician or other service offered by Central England Co-operative.
There is a link to the store finder on every page of our website.
Q5. Is it still possible to get the Co-op dividend?
A5. Yes, it is, but now we refer to it as "share of the profits". For just £1 you can become a member of Central England Co-operative Society, which makes you co-owner of one of the UK’s largest independent co-operative societies.
As a member you receive a membership card which you can use every time you shop with us to collect points based on the value of your purchase. Twice a year the points are totted up, converted into pounds and pence, and returned to you in the form of vouchers (in multiples of £1). Each year the board of directors recommend a dividend value based on value per point, so the more points you collect the bigger your share of the profits.
Q6. Is that different from the Community Dividend?
A6. The Community Dividend scheme is our way of giving back to our local community. Each year we set aside a percentage of our trading profit as funds for local charities and community initiatives. That means that every time you shop with us you are helping your neighbour as well as yourself.
7. What jobs are available with Central England Co-operative?
A7. From shop assistant to funeral director to IT support desk to operations manager, Central England Co-operative Society employs more than 9,000 people in a wide range of jobs. Most store vacancies are advertised locally – get an application form from the store or download a copy from our jobs page, and return it to the store. Jobs in new stores and vacancies at our Business Support Centre in Lichfield are advertised on our website, where you can get application forms and submit an application by email.
8. How do I become a member of Central England Co-operative Society?
A8. You can apply to become a member in any of three ways:
Apply online here.
Call our membership helpline on 0800 050 601 or complete the paper form, which you can pick up in stores, travel shops and other trading locations.
You can also call our helpline on 0800 050 1601, or write to:
Central England Co-operative
9. What kinds of products and services are available from Central England Co-operative Society?
A9. We are a leading independent food retailer with high street convenience stores and large supermarkets dotted across the Midlands and East Anglia, and also offer travel services through our own travel shops as well as through the national The Co-operative Travel network.
Our transport services include a car dealership trading in new and used cars, several garages offering car and commercial vehicle servicing and repairs, and a specialist vehicle customisation operation which turns commercial vehicles into mobile banks and libraries.
Central England Co-operative funeral services provide support for bereaved families and caring for their deceased loved ones, and our own florists can supply funeral floral tributes and flowers for all occasions.
Q10. Where can I find out about the latest offers and deals from Central England Co-operative?
A10. We have regular offers and seasonal deals in all food departments, which you can find out about through our website, and also through Facebook and Twitter.
Q11. How can I give feedback on a recent shopping visit?
A11. We welcome your comments about your experience of shopping with Central England Co-operative. Whether you have concerns about a particular store or would like to tell us if you have received outstanding customer service, you can either speak to the manager of the store or send us your feedback using our online contact form. We respond to feedback requests within five working days.
We run occasional shopper surveys in specific stores, and if you find a "Tell us" link on your till receipt we'd love to hear your views about your recent shopping experience in store.
Q12. How can I make a complaint about something I bought in a Central England Co-operative store?
A12. We’re always delighted to know If you have enjoyed a product in The Co-operative range, but we’re more keen to hear from you if your experience with either our own-brand products or anything else you buy from us has fallen short of your expectations.
If possible, take the item back to the store where you bought it and tell a member of staff. They will be pleased to help, whatever the problem. If you can’t get back to the store, send us the details of your complaint using the online contact form and we will be in touch within five working days.
Q13. Where can I find out about The Co-operative brand products and your position as an ethical retailer?
A13. The Co-operative Group website has a section dedicated to food ethics, where you can find out about where your food comes from, and how we source local or ethically traded goods wherever possible.
Q14. Where can I find out about Central England Co-operative funeral services?
A14. With over 100 funeral homes and 100 years of service, Central England Funeralcare is the largest funeral director in the region, providing sympathetic and professional service 24 hours a day.